In the first ever Air Force-level dialogue, India and Singapore agreed to focus on “mutually supportive roles,” including “interoperability” between respective air forces for disaster management and humanitarian relief in South East Asia. The two nations had earlier signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) and this dialogue is part of the ongoing discussions to further bilateral relations and define the DCA better.
Air Force sources say that the two nations were “not looking at interoperability in a combat role” as that is not considered “a present-day aim or objective.” Growing with its strategic vision, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is “broadening its horizons” with friendly nations. The IAF has developed strategic equipment, processes, systems, and abilities and has even participated in relief efforts when the Katrina hurricane ravaged the “west coast of the United States.”
While the two air forces will also hold bilateral exercises in November, training is not being discussed as an area of cooperation. However, “Network centric operations” may be included for dialogue in the future.
In addition to expansion of dialogue with Singapore, the IAF has also initiated exchanges with other West Asian nations such as Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and China to explore areas to cooperate. Following the “appreciation” and success of exercises with the US, the IAF has also received proposals from several nations for joint air exercises.