IAF pulls out of multilateral air exercise in the UK
New Delhi: The Indian Air Force on Saturday decided to pull out of a multilateral air exercise in the UK next month in view of the situation arising out of the crisis in Ukraine, officials said.
The decision to not participate in the ‘Cobra Warrior’ exercise came just three days after the IAF announced that five Tejas light combat aircraft would be sent for the drills from March 6 to 27 at Waddington in the UK.
The IAF on Saturday morning tweeted that it has decided not to deploy its aircraft for exercise in the UK in “light of the recent events”. However, the tweet was deleted later.
Though there was no reason given why the tweet was deleted, officials said the decision to not participate in the exercise stands.
“The IAF is not participating in the exercise ‘Cobra Warrior’,” said a senior official.
The pull-out came amid a deepening crisis in Ukraine with Russian troops advancing on Kyiv and other key cities.
The decision also came hours after India abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
Official sources said by abstaining from the resolution, India retained the option of reaching out to all relevant sides to find a middle ground and foster dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the crisis.
On Wednesday, the IAF announced that it will participate in the ‘Cobra Warrior’ exercise with a fleet of five Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA).
The IAF had said that the exercise ‘Cobra Warrior 22’ was aimed at providing operational exposure and sharing best practices amongst the participating air forces.
In a statement, It had said that the exercise would be a platform for the indigenously developed Tejas aircraft to demonstrate their manoeuvrability and operational capability.
“The exercise is aimed at providing operational exposure and sharing best practices amongst the participating air forces, thereby enhancing combat capability and forging bonds of friendship,” it had said.