Coimbatore: A French Air and Space Force contingent, including three Rafale battle jets, made a technical stopover at the Indian Air Force (IAF) station at Sulur during a long-distance deployment to the Indo-Pacific, mirroring the close defense ties between the two sides.
The French Air and Space Force is at present directing a significant long-range mission in the Indo-Pacific, codenamed “Pégase 22”. The principal phase of the mission means to exhibit France’s ability for long-distance air power projection by conveying an air force contingent from metropolitan France to the French region of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean in under 72 hours.
The contingent and planes visited Sulur airbase in Tamil Nadu during August 10-11 to accomplish the exceptional 16,600-km deployment. Mission Pégase 22 started on August 10 and will go on till September 18.
The contingent involved three Rafale jets and backing aircraft. In the wake of landing at Sulur on Wednesday night, the contingent flew out in the early long stretches of Thursday after refueling, in transit to New Caledonia, the French embassy said in a statement.
“The operation demonstrated a high level of mutual trust and interoperability between the French and Indian Air Forces, which has been further boosted by the fact that both air forces now fly Rafale jets,” the assertion said.
“It likewise delineated the substantial execution of the corresponding coordinated factors support agreement signed by France and India in 2018,” it added.
Alluding to the IAF’s job in the activity, French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said: “France is an occupant force of the Indo-Pacific, and this aggressive long-distance air power projection shows our obligation to the region and our accomplices. It is simply regular that to complete this mission, we depend on India, our chief vital accomplice in Asia.”
In the accompanying phases of Mission Pégase 22, the French contingent will participate in the “Completely dark” practice in Australia from August 17 to September 10. The IAF will likewise take part in this multilateral drill along with Australia, Japan, the US, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, the UK and South Korea.
Mission Pégase 22 is a “strong exhibit of France’s ability for speedy deployment in the Indo-Pacific”, the assertion said. “The mission is additional confirmation that the security circumstance in Europe has not lessened the French and European responsibility in the Indo-Pacific,” it added.
The mission further plans to reinforce ties with key accomplices of France, like India, and underline France’s help for security and strength in the region.