Indian Air Force Fighter jets have arrived in Japan to participate in the long-delayed exercise Veer Guardian.

Four Indian Sukhoi Su-30MKI Flanker multirole fighters will train with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force from January 12 to January 26.

Tuesday, the aircraft landed at Japan’s Hyakuri Air Base, around 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the country’s capital, Tokyo. The jets were joined by two C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force and an Il-78 tanker.

The C-17s delivered troops and equipment for the exercise, and the Il-78 supported the Su-30MKIs with refueling. On their way to Japan, the jets made stops in Thailand and the Philippines.

According to a press release released by the Japanese military, the Su-30MKIs are from the No. 220 Squadron of the Indian Air Force, which is headquartered in the northern province of Punjab.

Mitsubishi F-2s of the 7th Air Wing and F-15J Eagle interceptors from the Air Tactics Development Wing will be among the Japanese aircraft participating in Veer Guardian. The latter is the aggressor unit of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, which serves as the adversary during training.

Originally intended for 2020, Veer Guardian was delayed owing to the COVID-19 epidemic. In 2019, the Indian and Japanese air forces conducted bilateral fighter training in India under the codename Shinyuu Maitri. Veer Guardian is Japan’s equivalent training event.

India and Japan were also recently part of the Malabar naval exercise in November 2021 that involved the United States and Australia.

India and Japan also carried out the bilateral air and naval exercise JIMEX off the former’s coast in September 2021.

The two Asian nations have fostered closer defense relations in recent years and are part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue — more commonly known as the Quad. This strategic security dialogue also includes Australia and the United States.