Next week India and Japan are going to hold their maiden air exercise `Veer Guardian’ which is expected to further deepen military cooperation as well as interoperability between the two QUAD members.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) will carry out various aerial combat drills in their inaugural exercise from January 12-26, 2023 at Hyakuri Air Base and Iruma air base
The IAF will deploy four Su-30MKI fighters and they will come from No 220 squadron, Western Air Command, one IL-78 mid-air refueller, there is a contingent of around 150 personnel. They are being transported by two C-17 transport aircraft. From JASDF four F-2 and four F-15 aircraft are being deployed.
It has been reported earlier that the decision to hold the maiden joint fighter drills was taken at the second 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between the two countries in September 2022 in Tokyo. Both the countries at the end of the dialogue had agreed to step up bilateral cooperation in defence and to engage more in military exercises including the maiden fighter jets drill.
Aim of the drill
According to JASDF the aim of the maiden exercise is to enhance its tactical skills, strengthen cooperation between the two Air Forces as well as promote mutual understanding.
Besides the aerial combat between the air forces of India and Japan, they will exchange best practices and also undertake multi-domain air combat missions in a complex environment.
According to IAF, experts from both countries will also hold discussions to share their experiences on different operational aspects.
In 2022 for the first time Japan participated in multilateral exercise `MILAN’ which was hosted by the Indian Navy and the two countries have operationalised Logistics Support Agreement, and Reciprocal Provision of Supply and Services Agreement.
With the growing belligerence of the Chinese Navy in the region, both India and Japan have deepened their cooperation especially in the maritime domain with Maritime Domain Awareness as a key focus area.
Both countries have already acknowledged the importance of defence partnership and the important role it will play in ensuring open, free and rules based Indo-Pacific Region.
The two countries are already carrying out bilateral and multilateral exercises including the recently concluded `Dharma Guardian’, Malabar (which has all QUAD members’ navies) and JIMEX.