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HomeAsiaJapan, India drills signal deepening military cooperation

Japan, India drills signal deepening military cooperation

'Quick read' news summary

The first joint combat air drills between Japan and India are underway, signaling a deepening of the two country’s security ties as China continues to exert power and influence in the Asia-Pacific.

Beijing is watching the development closely, with a spokesman calling on Tokyo and Delhi to “do more to enhance mutual trust” in the region.

The maiden Veer Guardian 2023 exercise, delayed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is taking place from Jan. 16-26 at Hyakuri and Iruma air bases outside Tokyo. 

In 2019, Japanese and Indian air forces conducted a joint exercise codenamed Shinyuu Maitri in India, but it focused on mobility and tactical interoperability rather than combat.

The Indian Air Force has brought to Veer Guardian a contingent of four Su-30 MKI, two C-17 Globemasters and an IL-78 tanker, it said in a Twitter post.

Japan contributed three Hikotai Mitsubishi F-2A/B fighters in addition to a number of F-15J/DJ Eagles and Hiko Kyodogun Eagles.

Shunji Izutsu, chief of staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), told a news conference that the exercise would “improve the tactical skills of the JASDF, promote mutual understanding between the Japanese and Indian air forces, and further deepen defense cooperation.”

“Japan and India are in a special strategic global partnership relationship,” he said, adding that “India is a like-minded country” to Japan.

The two countries are part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, a security grouping between the U.S., Australia, India and Japan.

Beijing has repeatedly criticized the grouping, calling it an attempt to create a NATO-style

The first joint combat air drills between Japan and India are underway, signaling a deepening of the two country’s security ties as China continues to exert power and influence in the Asia-Pacific. In 2019, Japanese and Indian air forces conducted a joint exercise codenamed Shinyuu Maitri in India, but it focused on mobility and tactical interoperability rather than combat. Shunji Izutsu, chief of staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), told a news conference that the exercise would “improve the tactical skills of the JASDF, promote mutual understanding between the Japanese and Indian air forces, and further deepen defense cooperation.”

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