Multilateral and bilateral exercises are essential for valuable operational knowledge, experiences and best practices
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
An Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent comprising 145 Air Warriors departed from the Air Force Station, Jamnagar in Gujarat on February 26, 2023 to participate in the multilateral air exercise ‘Cobra Warrior 2023’ at the Waddington Air Force Base of the Royal Air Force in Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. The exercise is scheduled to be held from March 6 to March 24, 2023. Exercise Cobra Warrior is a multilateral air military exercise in which air forces from Finland, India, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, the US, and the Royal Air Force of UK will be participating for combating high-intensity simulated warfighting scenarios.
The IAF aircraft participating in the exercise include 2 x C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift aircraft, 5 x Mirage 2000 fighter jets and 1 x Ilyushin II-78M tanker aircraft. The exercise will allow the participating air forces to practice and learn through diverse fighter aircraft engagements, as well as exchange each other’s best operational practices and tactics.
Exercise Cobra Warrior is a multilateral air military exercise in which air forces from Finland, India, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, US, and the UK will be participating
On February 25, 2023 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had also announced that the IAF would be participating in another multilateral exercise, named Exercise ‘Desert Flag VIII’ in the UAE. The exercise is being conducted from February 27 to March 17. Earlier on February 19 the IAF had announced that this exercise will also witness participation of India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
Above also marks the first time LCA Tejas is operating outside of India for an international exercise – making its debut in Exercise ‘Desert Flag VIII’ multinational exercise. The IAF contingent participating in the exercise comprise of 110 Air Warriors, 2 x C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and 5 x LCA Tejas fighter jets, These have been deployed for the exercise in Al Dhafra airbase of the UAE.
Air forces from 11 nations are participating in Exercise Desert Flag VIII. These include Australia, Bahrain, France, India, Kuwait, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Spain, the UAE, the UK and the US. The exercise provides operational exposure to share best practices among the participating contingents, undertaking operations in a controlled environment, exercising different fighter engagements and promote jointness.
LCA Tejas is operating outside of India – making its debut in Exercise ‘Desert Flag VIII’ multinational exercise. Air forces from 11 nations are participating in Exercise Desert Flag VIII. These include Australia, Bahrain, France, India, Kuwait, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Spain, the UAE, the UK and the US.
Concurrent to the above exercises, the IAF also participated in Exercise ‘Maitri 23’ in Japan on March 1-2, 2023 while the Indo-Japanese Joint Army Exercise ‘Dharma Guardian’ was underway. Exercise Maitri 23 focused on heavy-lift transport aircraft operations. The IAF aircraft fielded for the exercise was 1 x C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, while the Japan Air Self Defence Forces (JASDF) fielded 1 x C-2 transport aircraft. The exercise included discussions on transport operations and tactical manoeuvring, followed by flying drills.
Bilateral and multilateral exercises in which the IAF participated during 2022 included the following:
IAF also participated in Exercise ‘Maitri 23’ in Japan on March 1-2, 2023, focused on heavy-lift transport aircraft operations
China’s aggressive and expansionist designs are quite apparent in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the centre of gravity of conflict is shifting to the Indian Ocean because the US-led West does not want ceasefire in Ukraine, continues to fuel the war and there isevery possibility that China would provide military assistance to Russia. This is logical because China understands that the US wants to target China in the same manner after weakening Russia to its liking. Chinese military assistance to Russia would likely expand the scope of war and another front may open in the Indo-Pacific. Even otherwise, the safety of global commons remains the collective responsibility of like-minded nations. Multilateral and bilateral exercises are essential for executing collective responsibilities.