India, Germany in talks for joint air exercises

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India, Germany in talks for joint air exercises

Huma Siddiqui

New Delhi: Even as it looks at India as a market for European consortium EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft, Germany is keen on taking its military cooperation with the country to another level by having joint exercises with the Indian Air Force (IAF).

German Air chief Lt Gen Aarne Kreuzinger-Janick told FE his country was exploring options for an air combat exercise with the IAF in the near future. "We are in talks with India on joint exercises. When the new chief of the IAF, Air Marshal NAK Browne, visits the country in September, joint exercises will be topping the agenda," said Janick, adding the two sides had already discussed the possibility of joint training.

While India has been conducting regular military exercises with countries like the US, France, the UK, Russia and even China, there has only been a limited military interaction with Germany till now. At present, officers are being exchanged for specific training courses. "We have an exchange pilot on the SU 30MKI fighters," the German Air chief said.

India holds joint combat exercises with friendly countries from time to time and is a much sought after nation for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries for war games. The framework for annual consultations for defence cooperation concluded with Germany in 2006 is the basis for expansion of the two countries' defence cooperation. Under it regular exchanges of officers, including that of service chiefs, consultations and training are being held.

The Eurofighter 'Typhoon' 126-aircraft Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal worth $10.4 billion is seen by many as a possible driver to expanding the two countries' relationship. The German Air chief also said Eurofighter was ready to share technology with India to a degree nobody had offered.

In order to beat the challenge from French Dassault 'Rafale', the European defence giant is transferring some of its operations to India. EADS has already set up a military research and development centre in Bangalore.
 

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