The daily beating retreat and band ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border was cancelled on Friday as India waited for the return of Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. The Wing Commander was captured by Pakistan after his plane went down during an aerial battle over the Line of Control on Wednesday.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that he was going to be released as “peace gesture”, signalling the easing of tension after the two countries engaged in an aerial clash for the first time in nearly half a century.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is expected be handed over to India at the Attari-Wagah border this afternoon.
India wanted to bring him back from Pakistan by a special flight, but was denied permission. India, say sources, did not want Abhinandan Varthaman to return to media and crowd frenzy at Attari-Wagah.
The elaborate flag-lowering ceremony at the Attari-Wagah crossing between Indian and Pakistani soldiers draws thousands of spectators on both sides.