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US Commander’s Unprecedented Flight in Russian Su-30 Fighter Sparks Curiosity

Amidst ongoing ωɑɾ in Ukraine and geopolitical tensions, a senior US commander recently took part in a joint US-India exercise, where he was observed flying a Russian Su-30MKI fighter alongside an Indian pilot.

The exercise, known as “Cope India,” involved General Kenneth S. Wilsbach, Commander of the US Pacific Air Force, who actively participated in a training mission at the Indian Air Force (IAF) Kalaikunda airbase. During the exercise, General Wilsbach also engaged with Air Marshal SP Dharkar of the IAF Eastern Air Command and other participants at Kalaikunda Airbase in West Bengal.

Prior to his visit to Kalaikunda, General Wilsbach had a meeting in Delhi with IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Defense Secretary Giridhar Aramane. The collaboration between the US and Indian air forces in the “Cope India” exercise aims to enhance mutual understanding and exchange best practices.

The exercise takes place at the Arjan Singh (Panagarh), Kalaikunda, and Agra (Uttar Pradesh) Air Force stations, involving various aircraft, special forces, and fighter jets.

This joint exercise between the US and India occurs against the backdrop of rising tensions between the US and Russia, driven by the ωɑɾ in Ukraine and Finland’s recent accession to NATO. General Wilsbach’s participation in a Russian fighter alongside an Indian pilot is a remarkable development, considering India’s significant fleet of over 250 Sukhoi fighters, including the domestically-produced Su-30MKI under license from Russia.

In summary, the “Cope India” joint exercise between the Indian Air Force and the US Air Force highlights the collaborative efforts in the field of air defense, despite ongoing geopolitical tensions. The involvement of a US commander in a Russian fighter underscores the intricate dynamics of international relations in today’s complex world.

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