The Indian Air Force is planning to engage Russia for joint air exercises like the ones it has been conducting with other nations, IAF chief Arup Raha said on Monday. Raha said this while holding a joint press conference with French Air Force chief General Denis Mercier at the Jodhpur air base here. The two were here to participate in the ongoing fifth Indo-French air exercise 'Garuda-5'.
"We are currently holding joint air exercises with the US, UK's Royal Air Force, Singapore, Oman and France for quite some time and the experiences have been conducive for both the participating nations. And now, we are planning to engage Russia for similar exercises," Raha said.
After arriving at Jodhpur in the morning, Raha and Mercier flew frontline fighter planes of each other's country, Su-30 MKI and Rafale. Referring to the Indo-French air exercise, Raha said we decided to hold the fifth edition in Jodhpur considering the strategic and geographic location as well as the climatic conditions.
"But holding this exercise in Jodhpur should not be seen as having any bearing on the on-going negotiations for the deal of Rafale aircrafts," he said. Mercier described the exercise as a good experience.
He said flying in such hot climatic conditions was not a new thing for him and termed the experience of flying Su-30 MKI as an unique one. When asked how Rafale would add to the might of the IAF, Mercier said the aircraft has some unique features, from design to tactical and strike capabilities.