Two years after participating in the "Blue Flag" exercises in Israel, the "Desert Flag 6" in the United Arab Emirates and "HopEx" in Egypt, India is expanding its connectivity with the Mediterranean and Southern Europe through Greece and the 'Iniochos' exercise, which is attracting the interest of major players in the region.
The taxiing in the next few days of India's Su-30s at the 117th Fighter Wing in Andravida as part of the exercise "Iniochos" is certainly the big surprise and at the same time a news that has its own background at the political, diplomatic and military levels.
After all, there have been many contacts that had been made with the Indians in the last four years, even at the top political level with the prime minister having a meeting with his Indian counterpart in New York at the UN.
And the Greek foreign minister Nikos Dendias traveled to New Delhi to make known the Greek positions regarding International Law, the Law of the Sea and Turkish provocations.
And many may be waiting for April 24, the opening day of the "Iniochos", to see the legendary Russian/Indian-made Su-30 up close. New Delhi has already sealed the upgrade of its military relations with the Athens sending a swarm of Mirage 2000s that flew alongside the "blue F-4 Phantoms".
This joint training, from where the images come from, as noted by Greek military chiefs "is part of the network of international actions of the Armed Forces that aim to strengthen Military Cooperation with friendly countries and during it missions of area defense interception, low flight shipping and virtual attacks on surface targets, contributing to the advancement of the level of operational readiness and combat capability of the Armed Forces of Greece and India."
It is also noted that following the actions of the Air Force and the Air Staff, the closest cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries has been sealed, a fact which cannot be ruled out after the Iniochos exercises will continue with other activities.
Su-30 vs F-16 with Pakistan in the background…
The twin-engine Su-30s to take part in the Iniohos exercise are advanced 4th generation multi-role fighters and are the primary aircraft of the Indian Air Force. An important detail that is worth mentioning is the fact that from 2022 India, like Greece, will also fly with Rafale.
It is also considered important that the Indian air force comes to fly next to or opposite its host whose backbone is full of F-16s with the most advanced reaching the Viper version.
The F-16 is the aircraft that the Pakistanis also fly with, but with which New Delhi has many and important differences and there are not a few times that fighters of the two countries have been involved in air battles, even getting shot down.
In the last four years, India has made sure to get very close to the Gulf countries, while Greece has done the same, on many levels. In fact, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have expressed their distaste for Pakistan, which is Turkey's strategic partner and which has often shown that it embraces all of Ankara's neo-Ottoman tendencies for the Mediterranean and beyond.
Iniochos opens the way of India to Europe
New Delhi has put its stamp on the UAE and Saudi Arabia by placing a balancing mechanism in its relations with the Muslim world and at the same time in its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.
However, the fact of India's participation in Iniochos reveals, strategically, India's will to place its own footprint next to important players and indeed on a "terrain" located in the Old Continent.
For many years, India has sought to redefine its role in Asia and Europe, as far as the world economy is concerned, and above all to remove the possibility of its isolation from China, which has created a global aggressive trade and which the ally in Greece the country seeks to compete.
Therefore, India, through its developed relations with the Gulf countries, can easily reach Israel, with which it maintains excellent relations, especially at the military level, given that it uses a lot of electronics and weapons from Tel Aviv in its fighter jets.
And from this point it has reached the much-desired Mediterranean, while through Greece, which is a constant "crossroads" between east and west, New Delhi reaches the European Continent...
Giorgos Sideri is a regular contributor to Hellas Journal.