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NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday dispatched a C-130J ‘Super Hercules’ aircraft, along with a 45-member contingent, including Garud commandos, to Israel to take part in the top-notch multilateral ‘Blue Flag-17’ exercise from November 2 to 16.
This is the first time India has sent a contingent to participate in a military exercise in Israel. The exercise will also include other countries like the US, France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Poland, and comes after PM Narendra Modi visited the Jewish state in July.
“Blue Flag is a biannual multilateral exercise which aims to strengthen military cooperation among the participating nations. The exercise, being held at Uvda Air Force Base, will provide a platform for sharing of knowledge, combat experience and in improving operational capability of the participating nations,” an officer said.
“This is the first time the Indian Air Force is operating with the Israeli Air Force in a multilateral exercise setting. Exercise Blue Flag gives us the opportunity to share and learn best practices with some of the best professionals from other air forces,” he added.
Israel is among the top three to four arms suppliers to India, notching up sales worth almost $1 billion every year. The arms acquisitions range from Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and Searcher, Heron and Harop UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to Aerostat and Green Pine radars, Barak anti-missile defence and several types of missiles and laser-guided bombs.