US welcomes Pak’s decision to release captured Indian pilot

Washington: The US on Thursday welcomed Pakistan’s decision to release captured Indian Air Force pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, from their custody.

In a surprise announcement during a joint session of Parliament, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Thursday that the captured IAF pilot Varthaman will be released on Friday as a gesture of peace.

Pakistan detained Varthaman Wednesday after two Indian jets were shot down by Pakistan Airforce following a fierce engagement of the two sides along the Line of Control.

We welcome Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment that Pakistan will release on Friday the Indian pilot held in its custody, a State Department spokesperson told PTI responding to a question on the announcement made by Khan in the Pakistani parliament.

Simultaneously, the US has urged both India and Pakistan to take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions. 

The United States continues to urge both sides to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, including through direct communication. Further military activity will exacerbate the situation, the State Department spokesperson said. 

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