Indo-US Air Forces kickstart six-day joint exercise in Agra

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Agra, Oct.19 (ANI): The Indian and the US Air Forces added yet another chapter to their strong bond with the commencement of the joint air exercise, Ex-Cope India 2009, at the Agra air base on Monday.

The six-day joint exercise (from 19 October to 24 October) being held at Agra, which is one of the largest air base in Southeast Asia, is aimed at training personnel for joint planning and execution of missions in simulated hostile scenarios.

Talking exclusively to ANI at the Agra Air Force base, the overall commander of the joint exercise, Air Cmde Shouvik Roy,VM Air Officer Commanding Air Force station Agra, said the objective of the exercise is to learn about each other's operational aspects through joint planning and executions of missions.

Air Cmde Roy said the exercise, which involves 250 IAF personnel and 160 USAF personnel, would also include various aspects of the air-borne exercises.

"The exercise will not only focus focus on disaster management, but it will also have include various facets of air-borne operations such as air-borne assaults," he said.

He also pointed that the definition of air-borne operations has changed these days, as it not only limited to combat activities, rather it now also involves carrying relief ,rescue and evacuation operations.

When asked that whether such joint exercises would be continued in the future also and that whether the Indian forces would be going to the US for the same, Air Cmde Roy said : "Both the forces have been involved in such exercises in the past and would continue in future also."

"Two IL-76 and Six Jaguars went to Alaska for Cope Thunder in 2004. Recently, Indian Air Force aircrafts went to Nallas AirForce base and the response and appreciation they received there was tremendous," he added.

He underlined that the process of learning from each other would continue.

"The idea is to learn from each other's speciality and technique and utilize the experience for higher goals," Roy said.

The Indian contingent is being represented by five AN-32's, one IL-76 and one Chetak helicopter in the exercise, while the US Air Force (USAF) would be utilizing personnel from Pacific Air Force and the Special Operation Command.

The Pacific Air Force comprises of three XC-130H from the 374th Airlift Wing, one XC-17 from the 15th Airlift Wing and one XC- 130 J from the 146th Airlift Wing.

In addition to that the IAF has also fielded its Rapid Action Medical Team and the Special Forces Garuds in the joint exercise. By Shashank Shantanu (ANI)

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