India and Japan who are members of the QUAD are getting set to hold their maiden bilateral air exercise `Veer Guardian’ next month. The first air exercise between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) is scheduled to take place in Japan from January 16 to 26. The drills will be at two different bases in that country — Hyakuri air base and Iruma air base.
In a statement JASDF, issued on Thursday, reiterated the aim of this drill is to strengthen defence cooperation and mutual understanding between the Air Force and to also enhance the JASDF tactical skills.
The focus of the first ever air exercise is going to be on interoperability between the forces of both India and Japan.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to field four Su-30MKI fighter jets from No 220 squadron which is under the Western Air Command. Also there will be mid-air refueller IL-78 and a contingent of more than 150 personnel and they will all be transported onboard two C-17 transport aircraft.
The JASDF would be fielding four F-15s and four F-2 fighter jets from 7th Air Wing (Hyakuri) for the exercise, Central Aircraft Control and Warning Wing (Iruma) and Air Tactics Development Wing (Komatsu).
Earlier this year, at the end of the India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, defence minister Rajnath Singh
Last week Financial Express Online had reported that Japan is all set to deepen its bilateral and multilateral exchanges in the defence sector and this will include not only service-to-service exchanges but also in the field of maritime security and cyber security.
In a televised address the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had unveiled a new national security plan which signaled the country’s biggest military buildup since WWII, focused on enhancing its defence spending in face of growing regional threats. The documents unveiled included the Defense Force Development Plan; National Defense strategy and the National Security Strategy (NSS).
In 2022, for the first time Japan had participated in the multilateral `MILAN’ which was hosted by the Indian Navy. Also the two countries have in March operationalised the Reciprocal Provision of Supply and Services Agreement and Logistics Support Agreement.
In recent years the defence cooperation between the two countries has deepened, especially in the maritime domain as Maritime Domain awareness is the key focus area.
The two countries carry out bilateral and multilateral Army and Navy level exercises. As has been reported earlier, in February for “EX DHARMA GUARDIAN-2022” which took place in Belagavi, Karnataka, the armies of both countries came together.
The navies of the two sides have been exercising both at bilateral as well as multilateral levels. At the bilateral level the focus has been more on air Defence tactics and Anti-submarine warfare.