India Announces Three Major Air Exercises for First Half of 2024

Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin completed his undergraduate and graduate education at a Texas university and has studied extensively in China. As a former Marine Corps intelligence analyst, he worked in the Indo-Pacific region. His areas of expertise include PLA modernization, particularly PLAN/PLANMC and its expeditionary capabilities, as well as CCP and Chinese domestic politics. He also runs the Sino Talk brand on Instagram and Twitter and is the IndoPacific Desk Chief for Atlas.

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On January 28th, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will hold three major joint and international military exercises in the country beginning next month.

The IAF will hold Vayu Shakyi-2024 on February 17th, which will occur near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, and involve the IAF and Indian Navy (IN) working together to target and destroy various targets. The aircraft from the IAF that will take part in the exercise include the LCA Tejas, MiG-29s, Mirage-2000H/Is, Rafales, and SU-30MKIs, along with IN MiG-29Ks and P-8Is. Indian Army (IA) attack helicopters and various IN helicopters will also take part in the exercise.

The second military exercise, Exercise Gaganshakti, will take place in April and will see the activation and involvement of various IAF units across the country. For example, units from Ladakh to the Indian Ocean region and from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh states are slated to be involved in the exercise. These units include ground attack, air superiority, transport, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles squadrons that will conduct various defensive and offensive missions tasked by higher-level commands.

All S-400 Surface-to-Air Missile systems located in the northern and western parts of India will also take part in the exercise. IN MiG-29Ks and P-8Is will also take part in the exercise, coordinating with other aircraft, such as the SU-30MKIs, to conduct maritime strikes.

Tarang Shakti-2024 is a new exercise focused on multinational cooperation with air forces from across the globe and will occur in August 2024 near Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The countries slated to participate in the exercise include Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States.


The three exercises occur as the Indian military is increasing its capabilities to conduct operations in joint environments as it continues the process of standing up theater commands. The Indian military understands that effective coordination and sharing of information between the various units will be necessary in the new commands. The first two exercises, Vayu Shakti and Gaganshakti, are designed to help the Indian military develop and refine its processes.

Furthermore, the exercises would likely use an initial version of the theater commands, especially during Gaganshakti since the units will receive taskings from higher commands. However, the Tarang Shakti exercise will allow the Indian military to see how foreign militaries share information and coordinate missions. Furthermore, they could also conduct exchanges regarding lessons learned from other air forces on various topics such as air task coordination in a joint environment.