Pakistan hands over captured pilot to India

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan has handed over an Indian pilot captured after his plane was shot down by the Pakistani military this week amid a dramatic confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals over the disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistani officials brought the pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, to the border crossing with India at Wagah and handed him back to India on Friday.

On the Indian side of the border, Indian officials greeted the pilot who was in a dark blue suit, accompanied by a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Islamabad has said that the handover was a gesture of peace that could defuse tensions and avoid another war between India and Pakistan.

Varthaman was shot down on Wednesday in Pakistani-held Kashmir.