Three Rafale fighter planes from the French Air and Space Force performed a technical stopover at the Indian Air Force’s Sulur airport in Tamil Nadu on August 10 and 11. The group from the French Air Force was deployed far out to the Indo-Pacific. Under the codename “Pégase 22,” it is now carrying out a significant long-range mission in the Indo-Pacific.

During a long-distance deployment from metropolitan France to the Pacific Ocean, the contingent, which was en route to New Caledonia, was hosted for a technical layover at Air Force Station in Sulur town of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district on August 10–11.

According to the French Embassy, the force, which consists of three Rafale jets and support aircraft, arrived at Air Force Station Sulur on Wednesday evening and left early on Thursday after refuelling.

“The mission showed that the French and Indian Air Forces have a high degree of mutual confidence and interoperability, which has been further strengthened by the fact that both Air Forces now fly Rafale fighters. Additionally, it demonstrated the effective application of the 2018 reciprocal logistics support agreement between France and India “The statement continued to read.

The French Ambassador to India, Emmanuel Lenain, praised the IAF’s contribution to this successful operation and said: “This bold long-range air power projection by France, a resident power in the Indo-Pacific, shows our dedication to the area and to our allies. Naturally, we rely on India, our top strategic partner in Asia, to complete this task. I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Indian Air Force for hosting the French contingent.”

France’s ability to deploy rapidly in the Indo-Pacific is powerfully illustrated by Mission Pegase 22. Additionally, the expedition demonstrates that the French and European commitment to the Indo-Pacific has not been affected by the security situation in Europe. It also intends to highlight France’s support for security and stability in the area and cement connections with important strategic allies like India.

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