New Delhi, August 27
The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed five MiG-29 combat jets, six transport aircraft and a group of its special forces personnel at a 21-day multilateral war game in Egypt that began on Sunday.
The biennial tri-services exercise, Bright-Star, is taking place at Cairo (West) Air Base and it is being participated by militaries of the US, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Qatar besides of the host country and India, officials said.
It is for 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 be participating in the exercise,” the IAF said.
Around 150 personnel from 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 in a statement.
“Besides leading to the formation of bonding across borders, such interactions also provide a means to further strategic relations between participating nations,” it said.
It said India and Egypt have had “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 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 defence and strategic cooperation between India and Egypt has been on an upswing in the last few years.
The Indian and Egyptian armies conducted the first ever joint exercise in January this year.
Egypt has already shown interest in procuring Tejas light combat aircraft, radars, military helicopters and other platforms from India.
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.
In September last, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid a three-day visit to Egypt.
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