NEW DELHI, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- India and the United States began Tuesday their first-ever joint air force exercise in Indian airspace.
The weeklong "Cope India" war games involving at least five C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Air Force Command and more than 150 U.S. Air Force personnel began in India's northwestern city of Agra with search and rescue operations.
India has dispatched more than 300 air force personnel along with Russian-made seven An-32 and two Il-76 aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
This is the first-ever joint exercise between the two air forces, and the first combined U.S.-Indian military exercise in more than four decades. Earlier exercises had involved the Indian army and U.S. Air Force.
Indian military sources said Cope India was the first of several joint exercises and training programs based on anti-terrorist strategies. The program reflected improved relations between the Pentagon and the Indian defense structure following the removal of sanctions imposed against both India and Pakistan for their nuclear tests in 1998.