New Delhi, Feb 28 : In a cryptic reference to Pakistan's announcement that it will release Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday as a 'gesture of peace', Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that 'just now, a pilot project has been completed."
Speaking at a ceremony at Vigyan Bhavan to confer the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards, the PM said, 'Aap toh laboratory mein zindagi gujarne wale log hain. Aur aap mein pilot project karne ki parampara hoti hain. Aur pilot project hone ke baad scaleable kiya jata hain. Toh abhi abhi ek pilot project ho gaya hain. Abhi real karna hain... Pehle toh practice thi (You spend your lives in a laboratory. And there is a tradition of carrying out pilot project... A pilot project is made scaleable after completion. So, one pilot project has been completed. The earlier one was just practice).'
The comments, received with loud applause by those present at the award ceremony, seemed to be an oblique reference to Islamabad's decision to release the captured Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a joint session of the country's Parliament, announced the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan, the IAF pilot, who is in Pakistan's captivity.
"We have captured Indian pilot. As a peace gesture, we will release him tomorrow... Pakistan acted with caution and restraint and replied to Indian aggression, only to show that we are capable of safeguarding our sovereignty," Mr Khan had said.
The Prime Minister presented the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards for 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Considered as one of the highest multi-disciplinary awards in the country, the award was named after the Founder Director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Instituted in 1958, the coveted honour is given each year to recognise the outstanding Indian work in various disciplines of Science and Technology. (UNI)