New Delhi: Maintaining momentum in the ongoing Indo-US military defence co-operation, defence minister AK Antony has given his "in principle" approval to the Indian Air Force to participate in a joint exercise with the United States Air Force. The joint exercise in question is the prestigious Red Flag exercise, generally considered to be the most powerful such exercise conducted anywhere in the world.
Red Flag is not only the most important fixture in the calendar of the US Air Force, but an invitation to attend the exercise is also indicative of the closeness of the relationship that the country enjoys with the United States.
Justifying the clearance, in light of the strident opposition maintained by the government's Left allies to any deepening of relationship with the US, the defence minister said, "We have to follow the trend all over the world.
The trend all over the world is modernisation of equipment and also technology and better training. We are comparing what action other countries are undertaking with ours. We also want to follow the best practices. Military interaction with the US will continue."
Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major had earlier on in the month let it be known that the IAF was keenly awaiting clearance to participate in this most prestigious air force exercise anywhere in the world.
Meanwhile, speaking to TV news channels, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Admiral Sureesh Mehta also confirmed that Indo-US military co-operation would continue unabated.