New Delhi: India will take part in a mega air combat exercise “Pitch Black” in Australia this month. The exercise is set to witness the participation of around 100 aircraft and 2,500 military personnel from 17 countries. The exercise will take place from August 19 to September 6. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) considers “Pitch Black” as its “capstone” international engagement activity with the air forces of strategic partners and allies.
As per the Australian Government press release, about 100 aircraft and 2,500 military personnel from 17 countries will arrive in the Northern Territory in the country in two weeks to commence Pitch Black 2022 (PBK22).
With a four-year hiatus since the last edition of Pitch Black due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s exercise will see a return of the combined force to Australian skies, enhancing interoperability and strengthening relationships, it said.
The defence and security ties between India and Australia have been on an upswing in the last few years.
In June 2020, the two countries elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support. The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows the militaries of the two countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.
The Australian Navy was part of the Malabar naval exercise hosted by India in November 2020 as well as last year.
(Defence Watch– India’s Defence News centre that focuses on Defence Manufacturing, Defence Technology, Strategy and Military affairs is on Twitter. Follow us here and stay updated.)