Indian jet fighters to participate in Red Flag air exercise

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Shillong, Dec 24 (UNI) The Indian Air Force has been granted permission to participate in Red Flag air exercise with United States Air Force, a senior IAF official announced here today.

The joint air exercise, scheduled to be held at Nellis Air Force base, USA in August next year, would also be participated by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries.

Advanced aerial combat training forms part of the Red Flag exercises.

''We stimulate the war conditions, a sort of mock drill with the full military equipments as part of preparing for any real war like situation'', Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal P K Barbora told reporters here.

Elated with government decision, IAF officials said ''This is a great step for India to get a foothold in the international military exercises, especially with NATO countries.'' The United States Air Force and other United States military units and allies including NATO countries have taken part in the exercises since 1975.

The purpose of the Red Flag exercises is to train pilots from the US, NATO and other allied countries for real combat situations. The use of live ammunition for bombing exercises forms part of the exercise, Air Marshal Barbora said.

The joint exercise would cost the exchequer of Rs 90 crore and would give a phenomenal exposure to India in understanding the work of the Air forces of various countries.

''Understanding the advanced technology and exposure to the best military practices of the Air Forces in the world are the benefits of such military exercise,'' the jet fighter pilot said.

The Defence Ministry delayed in granting permission to the IAF to participate in the coveted air exercise due to strong opposition from Left parties.

The Left parties had said India's participation would mean surrendering to the designs of the United States.

''We never thought India would be able to participate in the international air exercise and this exercise is for the national interest'', the Air Marshal said.


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