An Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKI stationed alongside JASDF F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter

Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKIs from No 220 Squadron assemble at Hyakuri Air Base in Japan on 10 January 2023. The airbase, which is located 80 km northwest of Tokyo, hosts several Japan Air Self-Defence Force units, including a squadron of Mitsubishi F-2 combat jets

A deployment of Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft to Japan has given Tokyo an opportunity to study the capabilities and technologies of Russian-origin combat jets in detail while deepening the country's military relationship with India.

The IAF has deployed four IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKI Flanker-Hs, two Boeing C-17A Globemaster IIIs, and one Ilyushin Il-78 Midas air-to-air refueler to Hyakuri Air Base in Japan as part of Exercise ‘Veer Guardian 2023'. The IAF combat jets will conduct a series of joint air exercises with four Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) Mitsubishi F-2A/B interceptors and four Boeing F-15J/DJ combat jets between 12 and 26 January, the Japan Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

According to Tokyo and New Delhi, this is the first air exercise involving Indian military aircraft over Japanese airspace. Plans to hold the air exercise were announced by Tokyo in December 2022.

As of today, Russia has not officially objected to India's participation in this bilateral exercise with Japan defence forces.