New Delhi : This month the air forces of 10 countries will ‘Desert Flag’ in the skies of the United Arab Emirates, amidst growing relations between India and Gulf countries. Indian Air Force fighter aircraft will leave on Wednesday to engage in this exercise with France, the United States and the UAE.
According to an Air Force spokesperson, the Indian Air Force’s 6 Sukhoi-30-MKI and 2 C-17 transport aircraft will leave for the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday in the ‘Desert Flag’ to be held between the air forces of 10 countries in the UAE. Indian Rafale jets will not participate in this multinational exercise, which was fueled in mid-air by the Emirates Air Force tankers in the UAE when they arrived in India from France. The three-week long ‘Desert Flag’ will feature high-profile exercises between ten countries including the US, France and Saudi Arabia.
Indian Air Force officials said the two transport aircraft would not be involved in the C-17 exercise but would join the Indian team to help. The Air Force recently conducted an exercise called ‘Desert Night-2021’ with France in Jodhpur in Rajasthan which included Rafale fighter jets from France and India. The Sukhoi-30 MKI, which will take part in the UAE’s ‘Desert Flag’, is part of the squadron that carried out long-range precision strikes against a practice target to commemorate the second anniversary of the Balakot airstrip on Saturday.
Air Chief Marshal Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria also flew in the multi-role aircraft Mirage-2000 along with the pilots of the same squadron. The sortie consisted of three Mirage-2000s and 2 Sukhoi-30 MKIs.
India’s relations have increased with the 6-day visit of the Gulf countries to Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Narwane in December last year. He visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE to strengthen military ties. The Army Chief’s visit was also historic in the sense that for the first time an Indian Army Chief visited the Gulf countries.