After much anticipation, the captured Indian airman Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman finally crossed the border from Pakistan to India around 8:50pm local time (10:50 a.m. ET), ending his detention in Pakistani custody.
A statement from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the pilot was "treated with dignity and in line with international law" while in detention.
In a solemn handover, military personnel walked alongside Varthaman as he walked towards the Wagah border. After finally crossing the border, he was quickly ushered away by Indian army officers.
Crowds of people gathered at the Indian side of the border on Friday afternoon awaiting his expected return. However, they were left waiting for hours to see the wing commander's release due to an unexplained delay.
His detention marked a significant escalation between the two nuclear-armed powers after Pakistan said its air force shot down two Indian fighter jets over the disputed border region of Kashmir. The skirmishes sparked the most serious crisis over the disputed border area in years.