Pakistan has released the captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman as a gesture of peace towards New Delhi and an effort to de-escalate tensions between the two countries.

"Wing Commander Abhinandan, Indian POW, returned to India today, as committed by PM Khan in his address to joint sitting or parliament, yesterday," Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal tweeted.

The move to set free the pilot was a a "peace gesture" aimed at lowering temperatures with its rival, after rare aerial raids ignited fears of a dangerous conflict in South Asia.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had become the face of the crisis between Islamabad and New Delhi, will be handed back to Indian officials. Amid tight security, the Indian pilot has arrived at the Wagah Border where he will be handed over to Indian officials.

IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured when his MiG-21 was among two Indian military aircraft shot down by Pakistan Air Force after they violated the Line of Control (LoC).

The move to release the pilot was announced Thursday by Prime Minister Imran Khan at a joint session of Parliament, a day after Pakistan shot down two Indian aircraft that had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and captured Wing Commander Abhinandan.

Crowds of Indians had gathered near the border crossing to welcome the Indian fighter pilot home.