With China on their radar screens, India, Japan to conduct first-ever joint air combat exercise | India News

NEW DELHI: With a belligerent China high on their radar screens, India and Japan will conduct their first air force exercises next month in a significant development in their ever-expanding military relationship.
Exercise ‘Veer Guardian’, to be conducted at Hyakuri and Iruma air bases in Japan from January 16 to 26, will see India deploy four Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets supported supported by two C-17 Globemaster-III strategic transport aircraft, one IL. -78 aerial refueling machines and about 150 air Force Staff. In contrast, Japan will deploy F-2 and F-15 fighters and equipment for the exercise.
“Exercise Veer Guardian will further strengthen bilateral defense cooperation and military interoperability, as well as enhance the two sides’ tactical air combat skills,” an official told TOI on Thursday.
On the bilateral front, India and Japan conducted exercises ‘French Defender’ between their armies and ‘JIMEX’ between their navies. Since 2015, Japan has also regularly participated in the flagship India-US naval exercise ‘Malabar’, which now includes Australia. All four of these “Quad” countries have publicly stated their intention to prevent any “coercion” in the Indo-Pacific against China’s expansionist behavior.
India and Japan have also now implemented their Military Reciprocal Supply and Service Agreement. India has such reciprocal military logistics treaties with countries like the US, Australia, France, South Korea and Singapore, all of which have an eye on China.
India is facing a more than 30-month long military confrontation with China east of Ladakh and has raised tensions along the 3,488-kilometer Line of Actual Control. In contrast, Japan is building up its military capabilities and will double its defense budget over the next five years in the face of the strategic threat posed by China and to a lesser extent North Korea.
In September this year, India and Japan conducted a two-plus-two defense and foreign ministerial dialogue which emphasized their important role in securing an Indian Ocean region- The Pacific is free, open and rules-based.
The two countries also decided to strengthen maritime cooperation and military logistics treaty, and expand the scope of bilateral defense-industrial cooperation to develop advanced weapons systems.


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