After Pakistan captured two pilots in a retaliatory strike that shot down two Indian aircraft Wednesday, the Pakistani army released a video that bizarrely shows one pilot sipping tea and thanking his captors for treating him well.
“I would like to put this on record and I will not change my statement if I go back to my country,” commander Abhi Nandan says in the video. “The officers of the Pakistani army have looked after me very well. They are thorough gentlemen, starting from the captain who rescued me from the mob…. This is what I would expect my army to behave as and I’m very impressed by the Pakistani army.”
A man off-camera asks the pilot where he’s from, and in a conversational — almost apologetic tone — Nandan says, “Am I supposed to tell you this? Major, I’m sorry, I’m from down south.”
“I hope you like the tea,” the interrogator says a few moments later.
“The tea is fantastic, thank you.”
The tea-sipping video comes after a Pakistani government news agency released a video of Nandan, showing him bleeding from the mouth and nose, tied up and blindfolded.
Someone off-camera again tells him to state who he is.
“I am commander Abhi Nandan. My service number is 27981. I’m a (inaudible) pilot and my religion is Hindu.”
“What else,” the off-camera voice asks.
“I’m sorry sir, that’s all I’m supposed to tell you,” the commander says.
In another video posted to Twitter, we can see what looks like civilians attacking Nandan before he’s taken into military custody. A Pakistani soldier meekly tries to stop the punches while in the background, we can hear someone saying “stop” in Urdu.
Below, the aftermath of the mob beating.
After the tea-sipping video’s release, people on both sides of the border congratulated the Pakistani army for its treatment of the captured commander, and the pilot for his composure.
Though reactions are mixed, it’s no doubt military tensions have escalated between the two nuclear powers. Wednesday’s airstrike incited fears amongst Pakistanis and Indians, which caused them to tweet #SayNoToWar:
Tamil actor Ranganathan Madhavan:
Indian music producer VIshal Dadlani:
Pakistani cricket player Shoaib Akhtar: