Air Force Chief to leave for Malaysia today

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New Delhi, Aug 18 : Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major will leave for a three-day official visit to Malaysia today.

During his visit, he will meet the Malaysian Defence Minister and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Chief for discussions on a wide range of bilateral issues comprising Defence cooperation.

Amongst other RMAF bases, the CAS will also visit Gong Kedak Air Base in North-East Malaysia, which is home to an Indian Air Force Training Team.

On an invitation by Malaysia the team of IAF pilots and technicians are there for last two years to train their pilots, weapon system operators and maintenance staff for the smooth induction and operation of their newly acquired Su-30 MKM fighter aircraft.

The delegation left for Malaysia after the signing of a protocol between the two Governments in December last year at Langkawi, Malaysia and is seen as a major development in Indo-Malaysian relations.

The team of IAF pilots and technicians are in Malaysia for two years, on their invitation, to train their pilots, weapon system operators and maintenance staff for the smooth induction and operation of their newly acquired Su-30 MKM fighter aircraft.

This follows the signing of a protocol between the two Governments in December last year at Langkawi, Malaysia and is seen as a major development in Indo-Malaysian relations.

The team will also train the RMAF technicians to help them set up a Systems School for the Su-30 MKM at Gong Kedak Air Base.

Under an earlier Memorandum of Understanding, the IAF had conducted ground training on MiG-29 aircraft for close to 100 personnel of the RMAF in October 1994.

Air Force to Air Force cooperation with Malaysia has also received a boost with the first high level Air Staff Talks between the two Air Forces having been held at the IAF HQ in New Delhi on August 4-5.

The talks covered issues that included professional exchanges, Su-30 training, courses, logistics support and air exercises.

The strengthening of bilateral relations with Malaysia is indicative of the Indian Air Force's efforts to seek closer ties with its neighbours in South-East Asia.

ANI

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