Ex-Desert Knight 21: India-France Military exercise

India and France are to hold Ex-Desert Knight 21 exercise. It is a bilateral air exercise to be held between Indian Air Force and French air and Space Force. The Ex-Desert Knight 21 is to be held in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Rafale Fighter Jets are to participate in the exercise.


Under the Indo-French Defence Cooperation, the French Air and Space force and the Indian Air Force have so far held six editions of air exercise called “Garuda”. The last of the six exercises was held in Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan, France in 2019. The Ex-Desert Knight 21 is being held in addition to the Garuda series exercise.

About Ex-Desert Knight 21

The main objective of the exercise is to provide operational exposure and share best practices. From the French Air and Space Force, Rafale Flighter Jets, Multi-role Tanker Transport and around 175 personnel will participate in the exercise. From the Indian Air Force, Su-30 MKI, Mirage 2000 and IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft are to participate in the exercise.

Defence Exercises

The regular defence exercises held between India and France are as follows:

  • Exercise Shakti is held between the Armies of India and France
  • Exercise Varuna is held between Indian Navy and French Naval Forces
  • Exercise Garuda is held between the Air Forces of the two countries


The three main pillars of India-France strategic partnership are space, defence and civil nuclear cooperation. France has been a continued support of India’s permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council. France had also been a great supporter of India for its membership at the Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group and Nuclear Suppliers Group.

India joined the Wassenaar Arrangement as the 42nd member. Also, India joined Missile Technology Control Regime in 2018. India’s entry to NSG is being opposed widely as India is a non-signatory of Non-Proliferation Treaty.


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