The week that was: Timeline of India-Pak powerplay leading to IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman's release

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Mar 02, 2019, 02:43 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(ANI)

Story highlights

From strikes on JeM terror camps in Pak territory to getting Indian defence personnel Abhinandan Varthaman back from Pakistan's captivity, New Delhi was able to set new benchmarks in reinstating its stand as a strong nation.

Last week saw major developments in terms of India's counter-terror strategy. From strikes on JeM terror camps in Pak territory to getting Indian defence personnel Abhinandan Varthaman back from Pakistan's captivity, New Delhi was able to set new benchmarks this week and reinstated its stand as a strong nation. Here is a timeline of what happened from the first tweet to Wing Commander Abhinandan's return on Friday.

Tuesday, February 26

- In the wee hours, around 2.45 am, of Thursday India launches strikes on JeM terror camps in Balakot.

- Pakistan. DG ISPR tweets about the attack, India officially confirms the strike at 11.30am. 

- An all-party meeting is called for at 5 pm

- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj briefs about the situation, speaks to foreign ministers of five nations -- US, China, Singapore, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Wednesday, February 27

- Pakistan planes launch an attack on Indian military installations. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets enter Indian airspace in Nowshera in Jammu and Kashmir.

- At 11:49, Inter-Services Public Relations confirms the attack on Twitter, informs about the arrest of one Indian pilot.

- Later in the day, external affairs ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar holds a press briefing, confirms Indian forces shot down one aircraft belonging to the Pakistan Air Force. He also informs that India lost one MiG-21 aircraft today and the pilot is missing in action.

- Following Pakistan's retaliation, India summons Pakistan's deputy high commissioner.

- India also closes its northwest airspace meanwhile, Pakistan closes its entire airspace.

- Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan addresses the nation saying both countries can't afford any miscalculation and dialogue is the only option to address their issues.

 "During Pakistan's retaliation, two Indian MiGs crossed the border. We shot them down. The pilots are with us," Khan noted. 

- The pilot was identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan.

- Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned Wednesday afternoon by MEA to lodge a strong protest at the unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India

- Later in the evening, India hands over a dossier to Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan with specific details of JeM complicity in Pulwama terror attack and the presence of JeM terror camps and its leadership in Pakistan.

- The United States, Britain and France proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist the head of Jaish-e-Mohammed Masood Azhar.

Thursday, February 28

- Pakistan authorities suspend Samjhauta Express train service between Pakistan and India until further notice. Indian railways also decide to suspend the operations of the Indo-Pak Samjhauta Express.

- In the afternoon at 1:00pm, US President Donald Trump, in a news conference in Vietnam, said he had some "reasonably decent" news from India and Pakistan. He did not elaborate further.

- Pakistan Parliament begins its joint session at 3:30 pm.

- Later in the day, Pakistan PM Imran Khan announces Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman's released on Friday as "peace gesture".

- At around 7:00 pm, Indian Air Force presents visuals as evidence of cover of AMRAAM missile fired from Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft which was found in the east of Rajouri after Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets entered into Indian airspace on Wednesday morning.

Friday, March 1

- Pak foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi boycotts OIC meet; announces Abhinandan will be released in the afternoon. 

- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses Organisation of Islamic Cooperation conclave in Abu Dhabi; slams Pak for its support to terror.

- India cancels beating the retreat at Attari since Pak wanted to turn a solemn occasion to its propaganda

- Beating the retreat on Pak side gets over around 5.45pm. Captain Abhinandan's release is anticipated.

- Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman reaches Wagah at 8.45pm. 

- Wing Commander Abhinandan crosses over to India at 9.21pm. 

- France becomes the first country to welcome his release.