India and Oman begins Eastern Bridge-VI Air Exercise
2nd Mar, 2022
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) have organised a bilateral air exercise named Eastern Bridge-VI from February 21 to 25, 2022 at Air Force Station Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
- This would be the sixth edition of the exercise.
About the Exercise
- In this Exercise, Oman has deployed its F-16 Fighters whereas the Indian Air Force has fielded its Sukhoi-30 MKIs, Jaguars and Mirage-2000s.
- The last combat Air Force Exercise between the two countries, i.e. Eastern Bridge – V was conducted in Masirah, Oman.
- The exercise aims to provide an opportunity to enhance operational capability and interoperability between the two Air Forces.
- Participation of IAF and RAFO in this exercise promoted professional interaction, exchange of experiences and enhancement of operational knowledge, besides strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
- Both the countries also agreed to work together to combat the issue of drug trafficking prevalent in the North Arabian Sea.
India – Oman Relations over the years
- The two countries across the Arabian Sea are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations, which are attributed to historical maritime trade linkages.
- While people-to-people contact between India and Oman can be traced back 5000 years, diplomatic relations were established in 1955 and the relationship was upgraded to Strategic partnership in 2008.
- Oman has been a key pillar of India’s West Asia Policy.
- The Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner of India in the Gulf and an important interlocutor at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab League and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) fora.
- For Oman, India was the 3rd largest (after UAE and China) source for its imports and 3rd largest market (after UAE and Saudi Arabia) for its non-oil exports in 2018.
- Since 2008, Oman has been extending its support to Indian Navy’s anti-piracy missions and Indian Naval Ships are regularly welcomed by Oman for Overseas Deployments.
- Naseem Al-Bahr is the naval exercise conducted between both the countries.
- AL Nagah is the joint bilateral exercise between the armies of two countries.