India to have joint air exercise with China: Major

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Shillong, Nov 19: Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major today expressed confidence of conducting a joint air exercise with China to further strengthen military ties.

''We want to have joint excercise with everyone. Hopefully in the near future we may have a joint military exercise with China,'' the Air Chief Marshal told a news conference after inaugurating the station commanders' conference at Eastern Air Command headquarters here.

The Indian Air Force(IAF) is adapting to reorient itself to the country's expanding strategic boundaries through such exercise, he asserted.

''I can't tell you the time, but there are no issues between India and China which prevent both countries from having a joint excercise,'' he said.

Indian and Chinese armies had already agreed to carry out joint military exercise to enhance inter-operability in counter terrorism scenario.

''The Indian army will have joint military exercise with chief China next year and why not with the Indian Air force too,'' Air Marshal Major asked.

''Joint exercises are a part of the learning curve. We get the opportunity of exchanging notes with air forces that are more modern and better equipped than ours,'' the IAF chief said, adding that such exercises were particularly important as the force was acquiring new technologies and equipment.

The IAF has been regularly participating in joint air exercises with countries like the US, the UK and France. In 2005, the force took part in one joint exercise with the US and in 2004 there were two joint exercises with the US Air Force. In October 2006, Indian and British Air Force jointly participated in air exercise in Agra followed by the recent joint exercise by the air forces of the two countries in UK this year.

When asked whether India was ready to have such exercise with Pakistan, the Chief of Air Staff said, ''it is a tricky question, but we can think about it. Let us hope that a day will come to materialise this.'' The IAF Chief denied any Chinese intrusion in Arunachal Pradesh, saying, ''It is a different perception of international boundary between the two countries. It is a perception and not intrusion.

China is in their line of control and we are in our line of control.

''There has been misunderstanding regarding the border demarcation between India and China and it is not a serious thing.

Talks are taking place and a lot of differences have been resolved,'' he added.


UNI

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