In the backdrop of ongoing Ukraine crisis, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said on social media that it has decided not to participate in the multi-nation exercise Cobra Warrior scheduled to be hosted by United Kingdom in March citing “recent events”, a post which was subsequently deleted.
However, according to diplomatic sources the UK has decided to cancel the exercise in view of the Russian invasion and offensive in Ukraine.
“In light of the recent events, IAF has decided not to deploy its aircraft for Exercise Cobra Warrior 2022 in UK,” the IAF said in a post on Twitter Saturday morning but was deleted in a few hours.
The UK informed IAF last night that the exercise was cancelled, diplomatic sources told The Hindu on the status of the planned exercise.
Earlier this week, IAF announced that it would deploying the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the exercise at Waddington, U.K., which would have been the maiden deployment in an international exercise for the indigenous fighter. “IAF will participate in multi-nation air exercise #CobraWarrior at RAF Waddington, UK from 06 to 27 March 2022,” it had said in a tweet on February 23.
The exercise was also to see the participation of Air Forces of Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the US. “The decision to cancel the exercise makes sense with the situation in Ukraine,” an official from one of the participating countries said.
Five Tejas aircraft were to fly to the U.K. with the necessary transport support for induction and de-induction provided by C-17 transport aircraft.
This year, UK was to host India for the bilateral air exercise Indradhanush, and instead of which had asked the IAF to join the multi-nation exercise Cobra Warrior. IAF was keen to join it as a multi-nation exercise offers better “operational exposure and sharing of best practices.”