Pakistan hands over Indian pilot in 'gesture of peace' as tensions simmer

Pakistan hands over Indian pilot in 'gesture of peace' as tensions simmer

Pakistan handed over a captured Indian Air Force pilot to Indian officials at a border crossing on Friday, a "gesture of peace" by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan aimed at defusing a dramatic escalation between the nuclear-armed neighbours over the disputed region of Kashmir, CBC reports.

The pilot, identified as Wing Cmdr. Abhinandan Varthaman, was taken in a convoy that set out from the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore to the border crossing at Wagah. Varthaman was escorted by military vehicles with soldiers, their weapons drawn.

On the Indian side of the border, Indian policemen lined the road as a group of cheering Indian residents from the area waved India's flag and held up a huge garland of flowers to welcome him back.

"The nation is proud of your exemplary courage," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.

Indian officials said Varthaman was in good spirits and would undergo a medical checkup.

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