India has sent an unprecedented contingent of 45 members of the country’s air force to an international military exercise in Israel.
The “Blue Flag-17” exercise marks the first time that India has dispatched a delegation to participate in a military drill in the Jewish state. The exercise also includes representatives from the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Poland. The Indian participants are members of the elite Guard Commando Force and arrived in Israel aboard the C-130J “Super Hercules” aircraft.
“The exercise…will provide a platform for sharing of knowledge, combat experience and improving operational capability of the participating nations,” an Indian military officer said, the Times of India reported.
The military exercise follows July’s historic visit to Israel by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The countries have established deep defense ties during the last year, as Israel has supplied India with various weapons systems, missiles and drones. Israeli defense sales to India amount to nearly $1 billion per year.