Meet the pilot who may have averted an India-Pakistan war

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from The Washington Post,

He parachuted out over enemy territory. Fired in the air to keep back angry locals. Jumped into a pond and then destroyed documents by eating them.

Ever since Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, an Indian fighter pilot, crashed in Pakistani territory on Wednesday, the story of his survival has transfixed a nation.

Now his safe return to India is helping defuse one of the worst crises to erupt in decades between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Late Friday, Varthaman crossed into India on foot at the Wagah border crossing with Pakistan. Under bright floodlights, he stepped through the towering metal gate that separates the two countries and shook hands with security officials on the Indian side.

It was a hero’s welcome: Hundreds of Indians awaited Varthaman’s arrival all day, waving the national flag and holding garlands of flowers they hoped to drape around his neck. Television anchors choked with emotion as they described the scene. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the pilot home on Twitter

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