New Delhi: Shortly before his release, Pakistani media had played a video recording showing Abhinandan Varthaman appreciating the professionalism of the Pakistan army. Reports claimed that he was not subjected to torture and received good treatment.
It now has become clear he was made to make his statement under duress.
An official, who is part of a team debriefing Abhinandan after he walked back into India across the Wagah border on March 1, said the Wing Commander was deprived of sleep, choked and even beaten up by his captors in Pakistan.
The official was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying during his captivity, Varthaman was made to stand for long hours and subjected to loud music to increase his discomfort.
However, he showed true valour and courage and did not yield to the pressure tactics of the Pakistani interrogators. They were trying to extract crucial information on Indian troop deployment, high-security radio frequencies and sensitive logistics during the first 24 hours of his captivity.
But by not giving in, he prevented the enemies from getting crucial information about troop deployment, logistical arrangements etc.
All Indian fighter pilots are taught to hold back for as long as possible when captured so that transmitting frequencies and deployments can be changed in the first 24 hours to deny the adversary any advantage, the officer said.
“Wing Commander Abhinandan did exactly that,” the officer said.
The paper said that at least three to four separate teams comprising a select group of officers are debriefing Abhinandan on the various aspects of his captivity.
Abhinandan received a hero’s welcome on his arrival in India. His valour displayed in enemy soil has won him millions of admirers.
He was piloting a MiG fighter jet which was shot down during an aerial dogfight over the LoC. But he managed to knock down an advanced F-16 Pakistani warplane before parachuting down on the other side of the border.
He is being hailed as the first pilot in the world to have shot down an F-16. These jets are manufactured by US-based Lockheed Martin and is known for its invincibility.
A row has erupted between the US and Pakistani about the use of the jet against Indian air strike, as it supposedly breaches the terms and contracts made during its purchase.