IN PHOTOS: Indian Commandos Conduct First-ever Joint Drill With Israeli Counterparts

India sent pilots and members of its special forces unit to participate in 'Blue Flag,' the largest air force exercise ever held in Israel

Indian and Israeli commandos taking part in a joint military exercise in Israel, November 13, 2017.
Indian and Israeli commandos taking part in a joint military exercise in Israel, November 13, 2017. IDF Spokesman

Indian Air Force commandos took part in joint exercises with their Israeli counterparts on Monday – including the location and rescue of soldiers who fell behind enemy lines – as part of the ongoing “Blue Flag” drill, the largest air force exercise ever held in Israel.

India sent pilots and members of its Garud Commando Force – the Indian Air Force’s special forces unit established in 2003 after terror attacks on two airports – to the two-week-long drill. Garud is the Indian equivalent of the Israel Air Force’s Unit 669, which was founded in 1974.

As well as locating soldiers, rescuing them under fire and getting them home by helicopter, the two forces also jointly drilled locating a pilot who had ejected over enemy territory, rescuing him under fire and getting him home by helicopter.

The Israeli commandos also demonstrated navigation without technology, techniques for survival in hostile territory, and “reading” the terrain during rescue missions.

The two air forces also practiced aerial refueling.

Indian and Israeli commandos participating in a rescue drill behind enemy lines, November 13, 2017.
IDF Spokesman

While the pilots were hosted at the Uvda air base in southern Israel, the commandos of the Indian and Israeli forces held their exercises at the Palmahim air base in central Israel.

Over 70 aircraft from seven countries are participating in the Blue Flag drill, which began on November 2. Air forces from Italy, France, the United States, Poland, Germany and Greece are also taking part. This is the first time German or French aircraft have trained in Israeli skies, and also the first time India has joined the biannual exercise.

Israeli and Indian air force commandos taking part in a drill to locate and rescue soldiers behind enemy lines, November 13, 2017.
IDF Spokesman
Israeli and Indian air force commandos taking part in a drill to locate and rescue soldiers behind enemy lines, November 13, 2017.
IDF Spokesman
Israeli and Indian air force commandos taking part in a drill to locate and rescue soldiers behind enemy lines, November 13, 2017.
IDF Spokesman
Israeli and Indian air force commandos taking part in a drill to locate and rescue soldiers behind enemy lines, November 13, 2017.
IDF Spokesman