Wednesday, October 14, 2009

India, Oman Launch First Joint Air Exercise

India and Oman will conduct their first joint air exercises, code named Eastern Bridge, Oct. 22-29 at the Royal Air Force of Oman base at Thumrait. The Indian Air Force will field six single-seat, Darin-I Jaguars alongside Omani Jaguars and F-16s.

The India Air Force will also involve two IL-78 MKI air-to-air refueler aircraft for tanking the Jaguars en route to Oman and an IL-76 will airlift air warriors to Oman. The main Indian contingent will comprise 33 officers and 65 personnel below officer rank, while the support team of IL-76 and IL-78 MKI include an additional 12 officers and 26 others.

"The exercise in the gulf region will enhance understanding of operational, maintenance and administrative procedures between RAFO and the IAF. The bilateral exercise would also be cost-effective in terms of benefit realization of operational and tactical preparedness over an unknown mixed terrain of land and desert," says an Oct. 14Indian Defence Ministry release .

India and Oman signed a defense agreement last year that includes the possibility of stationing Indian troops in the Arab country, said Indian Defence Ministry sources. The two countries have also decided to join hands in a maritime security arrangement, which will be extended to other countries. Currently, India and Oman's defense cooperation is limited to training of personnel at Indian facilities and naval exercises.


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