Pakistan to Release IAF Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman: What Next?

Pakistan will release IAF Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman on 1 March. What is the road ahead for India-Pakistan ties?

News Videos
2 min read

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday, 28 February said that he is willing to release the captured Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday, 1 March as a gesture of peace.

Amid the heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, US President Donald Trump on Thursday, 28 February had hinted that there was some "reasonably decent news" from the two countries, as he expressed hope that the escalation will be coming to an end.

Where does the situation go from here? Will the release of the wing commander be the turning point in the latest round of tensions between India and Pakistan, and what happens to India’s demand that Pakistan acts against terror organisations receiving sanctuary there?


Talking to BloombergQuint, National Security Analyst Nitin Gokhale said, while India will welcome the move, it will not ease the pressure on Pakistan to eliminate terrorists in its territory.

Irrespective of his release tomorrow, Pakistan would have had to release him later. There was no way they could have detained him indefinitely. This does not mean that India has lost sight of its objective in the action that it has initiated, which is to get the JeM reined in. India will not ease pressure just because Abhinandan has been released.”
Nitin Gokhale, National Security Analyst 

Former Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar reiterated Gokhale’s remarks and said, the ball is not in Pakistan’s court. “The basic reason why India had gone into Pakistan, that is to destroy JeM hideout in Balakot and to inflict damage to the safe havens of terrorists in Pakistan, that is still there,” he said.

However, the surgical strike in 2016 and the recent one, shows India can take action against Pakistan, he added.


Talking about US President Donald Trump’s comments earlier in the day on de-escalation of tensions, Deputy Director of The Asia Program, Woodrow Wilson Michael Kugelman said that Trump’s comments suggested there must be some sort of US involvement in the release of IAF pilot.

“Pakistan’s announcement to release the Indian pilot on Friday, suggests it to be part of a broader deal. I’m not sure if the Pakistanis would unilaterally decide to release what for them may be a bargaining share.”
Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director - The Asia Program, Woodrow Wilson 

However, this is a really good move and Pakistan has put out a path for de-escalation, he said, adding that India couldn’t respond in any other way than agreeing to de-escalate.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from videos and news-videos

Topics:  Imran Khan   IAF   surgical strikes 2.0 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More