India and Japan are set to hold a joint air exercise – Veer Guardian-2023 – at Hyakuri Air Base, Japan from January 12 to 26, to promote air defence cooperation.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) will participate in the exercise.
The Indian contingent participating in the air exercise will include four Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 aircraft, while the JASDF will be participating with four F-2 and four F-15 aircraft, the IAF said.
The exercise will include the conduct of various aerial combat drills between the two Air Forces. As per the IAF, they will undertake multi-domain air combat missions in a complex environment and will exchange best practices.
“Experts from both sides will also hold discussions to share their expertise on varied operational aspects. Exercise ‘Veer Guardian’ will fortify the long-standing bond of friendship and enhance the avenues of defence cooperation between the two Air Forces,” the IAF said.
It was during the second 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial meeting held in Tokyo, Japan on September 8 last year that India and Japan had agreed to step up bilateral defence cooperation and engage in more military exercises, including holding the first joint fighter jet drills, “reflecting the growing security cooperation between the two sides.”
“This exercise will thus be another step in the deepening strategic ties and closer defence cooperation between the two countries,” the IAF said.
India and Japan have in the recent past held several joint exercises. In September last year, the navies of both countries took part in the sixth edition of the Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) in the Bay of Bengal. The JIMEX series of exercises began in 2012. Its last edition was conducted in October 2021 in the Arabian Sea.
In February-March last year, both countries participated in Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN-2022, an annual exercise between Indian Army and the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force at Foreign Training Node, Belgaum.
Japan also hosted India, the US, and Australia in the multilateral Exercise Malabar in November last year.