IAF and FASF Chiefs fly as part of Ex Garuda VII

Jodhpur: Showcasing the defence and bilateral ties between the two countries, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari flew in a Rafale fighter jet, while French Air chief Gen Stephane Mille flew in an Indian Russian-origin IAF Su-30MKI fighter during ‘Garuda-VII’ bilateral exercise in Jodhpur on Tuesday.

The ongoing Ex Garuda-VII between Indian Air Force (IAF) and the French Air and Space Force (FASF) will conclude on November 12.

Speaking to the media later, along with the FASF Chief, Chaudhari brought out that Ex Garuda provides a unique opportunity for both Air Forces to learn and imbibe best practices of each other during operations. He also highlighted the growing interoperability between both air forces, which has been developing with each successive edition of the exercise, a regular bilateral exercise since 2003.

Earlier, French Chief of Staff of Air and Space Force, General Stephane Mille met Army Chief General Manoj Pande and Navy Vice Chief Admiral SN Ghormade on Monday where they discussed various aspects of defence cooperation between the two nations.

Ex Garuda VII is also the first occasion for the TEJAS and the recently inducted LCH Prachand to participate in any international exercise. The exercise includes four FASF Rafale fighters and one A-330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft.

Apart from the TEJAS and LCH, the IAF contingent consists of Su-30MKI, Rafale and Jaguar fighter aircraft, as well as Mi-17 helicopters. The IAF contingent also includes Combat Enabling Assets like Flight Refuelling Aircraft, AWACS, AEW&C and Garud Special Forces.

‘Garuda VII’ is the seventh edition of the bilateral exercise. The first, third and fifth editions were conducted in India in 2003, 2006 and 2014 at Air Force Stations Gwalior, Kalaikunda and Jodhpur, respectively. The second, fourth and sixth editions were conducted in France in 2005, 2010 and 2019.

Participation of the IAF and FASF in this exercise will promote professional interaction, exchange of experiences and enhancement of operational knowledge, besides strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries, the statement said.