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Aero India 2023

Indian air force chief to visit Malaysia

NEW DELHI (BNS): The Indian Air Force is stepping up its engagement with Malaysian counterparts with the visit of its chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Major from August 18 to 20. The IAF has a team in Malaysia presently for a two-year period to train Malaysians in operating and maintaining the Sukhoi-30 fighters, which its air force is inducting presently.

Major is slated to meet the Malaysian Defence Minister and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Chief for discussions on a wide range of bilateral issues on defence cooperation, a government statement said. He will be visiting Gong Kedak Air Base in Northeast Malaysia, where the IAF training team is based.

The team of IAF pilots and technicians are in Malaysia for two years to train pilots, weapon system operators and maintenance staff for the smooth induction and operation of their newly acquired Su-30 MKM fighter aircraft. The unique arrangement, India’s only such commitment on Sukhoi fighters with any other country, was part of a protocol signed between the two governments in December last year at Langkawi, Malaysia. It is “a major development in Indo-Malaysian relations,” the statement said.

The IAF team is training the RMAF technicians to help them set up a Systems School for the Su-30 MKM at Gong Kedak Air Base. Under an earlier memorandum of understanding, the IAF had conducted ground training on MiG-29 aircraft for about 100 personnel of the RMAF in October 1994. Malaysia and India have the commonality of several Russian military systems.

Recently, the two air forces held the first high-level air staff talks at the IAF headquarters in New Delhi on August 4 and 5. The talks covered issues that included professional exchanges, Su-30 training, courses, logistics support and air exercises, the statement said. “The strengthening of bilateral relations with Malaysia is indicative of the Indian Air Force's efforts to seek closer ties with its neighbours in South-East Asia,” it added.

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