Did PM Modi make a sarcastic remarks at release of IAF Pilot?

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Did PM Modi make a sarcastic remarks at release of IAF Pilot?

NEW DELHI – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked on Thursday that one ‘pilot project’ was over, and now it was time for the ‘real one’ in a reference to the announcement of the release of captured wing commander Abhinandan by Pakistan.

“There is a tradition of doing pilot projects first, and then they are made scalable. Just now, a pilot project has got over. Now we have to do the real one, it was practice till now,” the Indian premier insinuated at a gathering.

Modi then explained his cryptic remark by saying that by the real one, he meant to ‘give a standing ovation to the winners’ of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes.

The remark came minutes after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan announced in a joint session of the Parliament that the Indian Air Force pilot will be released on March 1st as a gesture of peace.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was taken into custody in Pakistan on Wednesday after his MiG 21 fighter jet violated the Line of Control and was shot down by Pakistan Air Force. In a video statement, the captured pilot had confirmed that he was being treated well by the armed forces of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister once again called for de-escalation with India in a speech which is being widely hailed across the world.

“Don’t take this any further, Pakistan will be forced to retaliate. I hope the international community will play its part to ensure the situation does not escalate beyond this,” the prime minister added.

Earlier, while speaking to a private TV channel, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said Pakistan would be willing to consider returning the Indian pilot if it led to de-escalation.

“If there is de-escalation with the return of this [Indian] pilot, Pakistan is willing to consider this,” Qureshi said.