Eight IAF aircraft make a friendly stop-over at Royal Saudi Air Force base
The Indian contingent comprising 145 Air Warriors with its complement of 05 MIRAGE, 02 C17 and 01 IL 78 tanker had an overnight halt in the Kingdom.
Published: 28th February 2023 03:56 PM | Last Updated: 01st March 2023 10:07 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: In a historic first, eight aircraft of the Indian Air Force landed at a Royal Saudi Air Force base on 26 February heralding a new chapter in the defence relationship between the two countries. This is being referred to as a 'friendly' stopover where refuelling and maintenance checks were also undertaken.
The Indian contingent comprising 145 Air Warriors with its complement of 05 MIRAGE, 02 C17 and 01 IL 78 tanker had an overnight halt in the Kingdom. On its arrival, the Indian contingent was received by senior RSAF officials, Indian ambassador Dr Suhel Ajaz Khan, Defence Attaché Col GS Grewal along with Indian Embassy officials. On 27 February the Contingent left for participating in the forthcoming Cobra Warrior 23 Exercise in the UK.
Ambassador Dr Khan during his address to the Air Warriors highlighted the growing relations between India and Saudi Arabia. He emphasized the importance of Military diplomacy as an important aspect of bilateral relations and the stellar role played by our Air Warriors in the same.
Ambassador Dr Khan and Contingent Commander also had a formal interaction with the Base Commander of the Royal Saudi Air force which was followed by a ceremonial exchange of mementoes. The Ambassador thanked the Base Commander and his staff for all the support extended to the Indian Contingent. The Base Commander welcomed the Indian Air Warriors and wished them all the best for the forthcoming Cobra Warrior 23 exercise.
The Indian Embassy hosted a reception with the IAF officials, near the airbase, wherein the crew members shared their operational experiences and planning for the forthcoming exercise. Many of the Air Warriors had recently participated in Operation Dost, providing relief and support to earthquake-hit Türkiye and Syria.
Defence relations between India and Saudi Arabia have made significant progress in the last few years. Recently a large delegation from the Saudi side also participated in Aero India Show in Bengaluru.