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India agrees to US war game

Shillong, Dec. 24: India has accepted an invitation from the US to participate in its first multinational advanced aerial combat training exercise in August next year.

The outgoing air officer commanding-in-chief of the Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal P.K. Barbora, described the opportunity to participate in the Red Flag programme as a “historic” one.

“We will simulate war conditions, a sort of mock drill with full military equipment as part of preparations for any real war situation,” he told the media today in the Meghalaya capital.

The advanced aerial combat training programme will be at the Nellis airbase in Nevada. The United States Air Force, its military units and Nato allies have been part of such exercises since 1975. The use of live ammunition for bombing exercises is one of the specialities of the programme.

The Indian Air Force received Delhi’s permission to participate in the Red Flag programme last month after much browbeating by the Left, which had argued that it would be tantamount to surrendering to the US.

Barbora said the Red Flag programme will give India “phenomenal exposure” to the air capabilities of the other participating countries.

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