In an apparent reference to IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that "Abhinandan" used to mean welcome, but its meaning would change now.
In an apparent reference to IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that “Abhinandan” used to mean welcome, but its meaning would change now. He also said that the world takes note of what India does and the nation has the power to “change dictionary meanings”.
PM Modi’s comments came a day after IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to home late on Friday after being held in Pakistan’s captivity for nearly three days. The IAF pilot was captured on February 27 by Pakistan following a dogfight between the two air forces in which his MIG-21 was shot down.
“The world takes note of what India does … India has the strength to change the meaning of words in the dictionary. “Abhinandan once used to mean welcome. And now the meaning of Abhinandan will change,” PM Modi said at a housing ministry event in Delhi. Soon after his release, PM Modi had tweeted, “Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan! The nation is proud of your exemplary courage.”
PM Modi at ‘Construction Techonolgy India’19’ in Delhi: Hindustan jo bhi karega, duniya use gaur se dekhti hai. Is desh ki takat hai ki dictionary ke shabdon ke arth badal deta hai. Kabhi ‘#Abhinandan‘ ka angrezi hota tha ‘Congratulation’, ab ‘Abhinandan’ ka arth badal jaayega. pic.twitter.com/vit3RTCXBS
— ANI (@ANI) March 2, 2019
While India ruled out any negotiation for the IAF pilot, at the same time, it asserted that it was Pakistan’s responsibility to follow guidelines under Geneva Conventions. India categorically stated if Wing Commander Abhinandan was harmed or not released, there would be severe consequences.
Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden minivan into one of the buses of CRPF convoy, killing 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14. Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM) took the responsibility of the Pulwama terror attack.
Amid mounting outrage, Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation and hit a JeM training camp in Balakot located deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan retaliated with a large air formation, including F-16s. According to IAF officials, Varthaman was in one of the eight MIG-21s that took on the invading Pakistani jets and shot down an F-16. During the dogfight, his MIG-21 Bison was hit but he ejected, landing in PoK, where he was taken into custody by the Pakistani army.
On Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan told a special joint sitting of Parliament that his government was releasing the pilot as a “peace gesture”. However, India has been maintaining that the Pakistani decision is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions. After the pilot’s release, the Pakistan Foreign Office described him as a Prisoner of War.