The Indian Air Force is using only Russian origin systems during the ongoing joint exercise Aviaindra at the western air base in Rajasthan that coincides with the Cope India exercise between the Indian and the US Air Force currently underway at the eastern air base in West Bengal.
The Indian Air Force is holding simultaneous joint exercises with US and Russia in the eastern and western sectors of the country respectively in what is being hailed by many as reminiscent of India’s non-aligned policy. While the Cope India exercise with the US Air Force is being held at Kalaikunda, West Bengal, the Aviaindra exercise with the Russian Russian Federation Aerospace Force is being held at the western air base in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
While the Jodhpur exercise kicked started on Monday and will continue till December 21, the Kalaikunda exercise started on December 3 and will conclude by December 14.
“There are significant differences between the exercises. While 12 USAF F-15 C/D air superiority fighters and three C-130s are participating in Cope India, the IAF describes AVIAINDRA as a unique exercise in which the foreign participants will not bring their air assets. The Aviaindra exercise is the second phase of drills between India and Russia this year, with an earlier exercise taking place at Lipetsk, Russia, in September. During the first phase, IAF pilots flew Russian Air Force aircraft. The exercises would include a counter-terrorism scenario, which would see Indian and Russian pilots fly fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters of Russian origin,” Indian news magazine The Week writes in its analysis.
Cope India, on the other hand, has seen the IAF and USAF practice airborne assaults on ‘enemy’ territory using their C-130 aircraft as well as maneuvers involving the F-15s and the SU-30MKI, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar fighters from India. This is the fourth Cope India exercise, the Magazine adds.
Indian Air Force tweeted to confirm that the joint exercise with Russia primarily focuses on counter-terrorism operations.