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US, Indian air forces to hold joint exercise

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KOLKATA (PTI): Air forces of the United States and India are scheduled to participate in a 12-day joint exercise 'Cope India 2019' at two air force stations in West Bengal next month, the US Consulate has said.

The exercise will be held from December 3 to 14 at Air Station Kalaikunda and Air Station Arjan Singh (Panagarh).

The exercise showcases efforts and commitment of the two nations to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, a communique from the US Consulate said on Thursday.

The Cope India exercise is being held after a gap of eight years, with the last one having taken place in 2010.

"Exercise CI19 is a long-standing bilateral US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)-sponsored Field Training Exercise (FTX), conducted with the Indian Air Force (IAF), focused on enhancing US-Indian mutual cooperation and building on existing capabilities, aircrew tactics and force employment," the communique said.

"We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to fly and train with our Indian Air Force counterparts within their home country," Col Darryl Insley, 13 Air Expeditionary Group-COPE India 2019 (AEG-CI19) commander, said.

Approximately 200 US Airmen with 15 aircraft from the 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan and 182nd Airlift Wing, Illinois Air National Guard will take part in the exercise alongside their IAF counterparts.

"Through participation in COPE India, I am confident that all airmen involved will both increase their skills and build meaningful bonds through bilateral engagements and exchanges," the communique quoted Insley as saying.

Cope India began in 2004 as a fighter training exercise held at Air Station Gwalior.

The exercise has evolved to incorporate subject matter expert exchanges, air mobility training, air drop training and large-force exercises, in addition to fighter-training exercises.

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US  India  Air Force  Exercise  Military  
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