The US Air Force says that eight Indian Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft (below) are on their way to Nellis Air Force base in Nevada to participate in the Red Flag aerial combat training exercises in August. Some 250 Indian support personnel, plus two tankers and a cargo plane will accompany the fighters.
India's exercises, where it will join the US, France, and South Korea, will run from August 11-22. This year marks India's and South Korea's first participation in Red Flag.
The American and Indian air forces have held joining training operations and combat simulations in the past. In June 2004, in the "Cope India" air training exercise in Gwalior, Indian pilots in their Russian-made SU 30s were widely thought to have bested their American counterparts flying F-15s.
On July 15th, the Indian jets refueled in the Azores and will travel to Bangor, Maine and then to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, where they will train before participating in Red Flag.
The Telegraph (Calcutta) reports that India's left-leaning parties are not happy: "The CPM feels that India-US military-to-military relations are part of a package with the civilian nuclear deal," which the CPM also opposes.