SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) gets "immeasurable value" from training with the Indian Air Force (IAF), Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said after a visit to a joint military training exercise between the two air forces on Tuesday (Nov 28).
As part of his visit to the training exercise held at Kalaikunda Air Force Station in India, Dr Ng got to see the RSAF F-16 and IAF Su-30 fighter aircraft used in the exercise and also interacted with participants, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said in a press release.
Speaking after his visit, Dr Ng thanked the Indian government for providing "realistic and challenging training opportunities" for the RSAF to "hone its operational readiness", said MINDEF.
"(It was) very impressive, and this is the reason why our air force trains with your (Indian) air force," said Dr Ng. "Your pilots are superb, planes (are) equally good, and the RSAF gets immeasurable value from training here with you, and (with) experienced pilots like you."
"We have been having bilateral air exercises since 2004, and … I hope that these bilateral exercises will last very long.”
This year's joint military exercise saw the RSAF deploy six F-16C/D fighter aircraft to train with the IAF’s Su-30 fighter aircraft.
The bilateral training has grown over the years to involve advanced aircraft and high-end training missions such as dissimilar air combat training and mission-oriented training, said MINDEF.
Lieutenant-Colonel Tan Wuen Bin, the RSAF detachment commander, said the training provides an "excellent opportunity to interact and train alongside our Indian counterparts".
"It allows both forces to conduct realistic training and deepen mutual understanding and rapport."
Air Marshal Anil Khosla, air officer commanding-in-chief of the Eastern Air Command of the IAF, said that the RSAF is a "professional air force and a valued partner to the IAF".
"It is important for the RSAF and IAF to continue to build interoperability and foster mutual understanding through the high end-training missions at the joint military training," he said.
The training provides the RSAF with regular opportunities to train with the IAF and is "testament to the strong and long-standing defence relations" between Singapore and India, said MINDEF.
It is conducted under the ambit of the Air Force Bilateral Agreement between the two countries, which was renewed in January this year.
Aside from training together, the two air forces also interact regularly through visits and other professional exchanges.
During his visit to India, Dr Ng is also scheduled to speak at the Brookings Institution India Centre on Singapore-India ties.