The bilateral exercise will be held at the Hyakuri Air Base in Japan

India and Japan will hold their first joint air exercise, Exercise Veer Guardian, involving fighter jets from January 12-26.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent participating in the air exercise will include four Su-30 MKI, two C-17 Globemasters and one IL-78 tanker aircraft. The Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) will be participating with four F-2 & four F-15 aircraft, India's Ministry of Defence said on Saturday.

The bilateral exercise, which will be held at the Hyakuri Air Base in Japan, comes three months after the second 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial meeting held in Tokyo, Japan on September 8, 2022.

During the meeting, India and Japan had agreed to step up bilateral defence cooperation and engage in more military exercises, including holding the first joint fighter jet drills, reflecting the growing security cooperation between the two sides. This exercise will thus be another step in deepening strategic ties and closer defence cooperation between the two countries, the Ministry of Defence noted.

The inaugural joint exercise exercise will include the conduct of various aerial combat drills between the two Air Forces. They will undertake multi-domain air combat missions in a complex environment and will exchange best practices. Experts from both sides will also hold discussions to share their expertise on varied operational aspects.

"Exercise 'Veer Guardian' will fortify the long standing bond of friendship and enhance the avenues of defence cooperation between the two Air Forces," the Ministry of Defence said.

While this is the first air exercise involving the two countries, the Indian Army and the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force participate in an annual exercise named Exercise Dharma Guardian.

Forces from both sides also take part in the Japan India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX), an annual exercise which was launched in 2012.