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After fighter jets, India and Japan ready heavy lift planes for another joint exercise

The C-17 fleet is vital to IAF's military airlift and humanitarian mission capabilities. India is also the largest operator of the C-17 internationally (Image courtesy: Indian Air Force)

The Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) on Wednesday announced yet another bilateral exercise with the Indian Air Force (IAF) thus deepening cooperation with India in the Indo-Pacific region which has become a priority theatre for defence forces from both countries.

The bilateral ‘Shinyu-Maitri-23’ transport aircraft exercise between the two air forces will be held early next month at the Komatsu Air Base and its surrounding airspace.

The purpose of the exercise is to improve air transport capability and to promote mutual understanding between the two air forces.

While ‘Shinyu’ means ‘best friend’ in Japanese, ‘Maitri’ means ‘friendship’ in Hindi. The deployment of IAF C-17 aircraft and personnel for the exercise will begin on February 28 with the two-day exercise kicking off on March 1.

The JASDF will be participating with its domestically-developed and manufactured C-2 transport plane from the Miho base.

Japan Air Self Defence Force
A JASDF C-2 transport plane (Image courtesy: JASDF)

The first Shinyu-Maitri exercise was held at the Air Force Station in Agra in December 2018 with a focus on undertaking joint mobility/Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations on transport aircraft. Display of heavy loading/off-loading was practised during the exercise.


The forthcoming joint exercise comes close on the heels of last month’s inaugural ‘Veer Guardian-2023’ joint Air Exercise at the Hyakuri Air Base which was a massive success.

The 16-day joint training witnessed not only the two Air Forces engaging in complex and comprehensive aerial manoeuvres in multiple simulated operational scenarios but also flying in each other’s fighter aircraft to gain a deeper understanding of operating philosophies.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, the IAF has already invited Japan for joint fighter drills in India.

Both countries have hailed ‘dramatic expansion’ in security and defence ties in recent times, highlighting their commitment to a “common strategic goal” of achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient, based on the rule of law and free from coercion.

India Japan Air Exercise

The announcement of Shinyu-Maitri-23 comes at a time when troops of the Garhwal Rifles regiment of the Indian Army and an infantry regiment from the Middle Army of the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) are taking part in the fourth edition of the joint military exercise ‘Dharma Guardian’ being conducted at Camp Imazu in Japan’s Shiga province from February 17 to March 2.

“The annual training event with Japan is crucial and significant in terms of security challenges faced by both nations in the backdrop of current global situation. The scope of this exercise covers platoon level joint training on operations in jungle and semi urban/urban terrain,” the Ministry of Defence stated at the start of the exercise.

Last week, in another show of deepening strategic ties, two ships of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) made a port call at Kochi.

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