The Indian Air Force (IAF) recently participated in Exercise Shinyuu Maitri with the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) from February 21 to March 5. The bilateral exercise was conducted at Air Force Station Agra, Uttar Pradesh, and aimed to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the two air forces.
The IAF was represented by two Su-30MKI fighter jets, one C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, and one IL-78 mid-air refueling tanker aircraft. The JASDF brought four F-15J fighter jets, one C-130H transport aircraft, and one KC-767 tanker aircraft.
During the exercise, the two air forces conducted various aerial drills, including air combat maneuvers, air-to-air refueling, and joint tactical exercises. The exercise provided an opportunity for both air forces to learn from each other’s experiences and share best practices in air operations.
The bilateral exercise is a part of the regular engagements between India and Japan to strengthen their strategic partnership. The two countries have been holding bilateral exercises since 2012, and the exercise was held despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with strict adherence to health protocols.
The exercise also highlights India’s growing military ties with Japan, which have been strengthened in recent years. India and Japan have been holding regular bilateral defense dialogues, and the two countries have also signed a Logistics Agreement to enhance interoperability between their defense forces.
The IAF has been actively participating in various bilateral and multilateral exercises with friendly nations, showcasing its capabilities and building partnerships with other air forces. In the past, the IAF has participated in exercises with countries such as the United States, France, Russia, and Singapore, among others.
The exercise with the JASDF comes at a time when India is also dealing with border tensions with China. The IAF has been at the forefront of India’s defense against any Chinese aggression, and such exercises provide an opportunity for the IAF to learn from other air forces and enhance its operational capabilities.