New Delhi: Five MiG-29 combat jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF), six transport aircraft and a group of its special forces personnel are taking part in a 21-day multilateral war game in Egypt that began on Sunday.
Militaries of the US, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Qatar, besides those of the host country and India, are taking part in the biennial tri-services exercise, Bright Star, at Cairo (West) Air Base, officials said.
This is the first time that the IAF is participating in the exercise.
“The IAF contingent will consist of five MiG-29, two IL-78, two C-130 and two C-17 aircraft. Personnel from the IAF's Garud special forces, as well as those from the Numbers 28, 77, 78 and 81 squadrons will participate in the exercise,” the IAF said.
150 personnel of the Indian Army
Around 150 personnel of the Indian Army are also part of the Indian contingent.
“The objective of the exercise is to practice planning and execution of joint operations,” the IAF said. “Besides leading to the formation of bonding across borders, such interactions also provide a means to further strategic relations between participating nations,” it said.
India and Egypt have had an “exceptional relationship and deep cooperation wherein the two jointly undertook development of aero-engine and aircraft in 1960s and training of Egyptian pilots was done by Indian counterparts”, the IAF said.
Relations between India and Egypt
The relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of strategic partnership during Egyptian President Abdeh Fattah El-Sisi's visit to India in January.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Egypt in June during which the two sides reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen their overall strategic partnership.
The Indian and Egyptian armies conducted the first ever joint exercise in January this year.
In July last year, the IAF participated in a month-long tactical leadership programme in Egypt with three Su-30 MKI jets and two C-17 transport aircraft.