LCA Tejas Loses ‘Big Opportunity’ Due To Russia-Ukraine Conflict; IAF Says Its Fighters Will Not Participate In UK Drills?

The Indian Air Force has reportedly announced that it will not deploy its aircraft (LCA Tejas) in multilateral drills in the UK due to “recent events”, hinting at the recent crisis in Ukraine. 

“In light of the recent events, IAF has decided not to deploy its aircraft for Exercise Cobra Warrior 2022 in UK,” the IAF had tweeted but was deleted it in a few hours. However, according to media reports quoting diplomatic sources, the UK has decided to cancel the drills in view of the Russian military action in Ukraine.

Five indigenous LCA Tejas aircraft were to participate in exercise Cobra Warrior 2022 at Waddington in the UK from March 6 to 27.

Earlier as EurAsian Times had reported, the LCA Tejas was set to train with some of the world’s best warplanes including Eurofighter Typhon, F-16, Saab Gripen as part of drills.

The Indian Air Force had confirmed that it will send five Tejas fighter jets to a multilateral exercise hosted by the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom. The Indian Air Force further added that the Tejas jets will take part in Exercise Cobra Warrior at the Royal Air Force base at Waddington.

This was supposed to be the first deployment of LCA Tejas for multinational drills. 

Cobra Warrior Drills

Ex-Cobra is one of the Royal Air Force’s largest annual exercises, and it is designed to train pilots and other professionals in the planning and execution of complex airborne operations.

The Indian Air Force Tejas performs at the opening ceremony of the Singapore Air Show on February 15, 2022.

During the drills, the air forces communicate best practices to provide operational exposure to each other. This will not only serve to strengthen friendly ties but also to improve combat capabilities.

The exercise represents a number of complex scenarios, with a focus on establishing tactics and plans to combat a near-peer foe, as well as crisis and conflict situations that may arise during operations.

Cobra Warrior is organized annually to “conclude the training of Qualified Weapons Instructors (QWI), Qualified Multi-engine Tactics Instructors (QMETI), QWI Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (QWI ISR) and Qualified Space Instructor (QSI) students.”

Eurofighter Typhoon During Exercise Cobra Warrior 2021 at RAF Waddington. – Twitter

Besides fighter jets, participating air forces also bring systems like the airborne early warning and electronic warfare platforms to boost collaboration and preparedness.

India, the United States, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and Belgium are among the participants, in addition to the host country, the United Kingdom. The ‘Ex Cobra Warrior 22’ will also serve as a major platform for the LCA Tejas to demonstrate its agility and operational capability, as well as to explore its export possibilities.

Gripen fighter jets from Sweden, F-16 fighter jets from Belgium, and Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets from Saudi Arabia are among the aircraft expected to participate in the drill. In 2019, RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire hosted more than 50 aircraft from around the world for high-intensity tactical training.  


During Exercise Cobra Warrior, the Royal Air Force usually deploys its Eurofighter Typhoon to operate with other air forces’ fighter jets. The UK forces trained alongside personnel from Germany, Israel and Italy. Several Israeli F-15s flew together with UK Typhoons, Italian and German Eurofighters for the first time in the RAF’s 101-year history.

India Snubs The West

India along with China & the UAE abstained when a resolution opposing the military Russian action in Ukraine came up for a vote at the UN Security Council (UNSC). Russia which vetoed the resolution thanked all the three nations for not supporting the move.

India abstained from voting saying that the path of the “diplomacy was given up”. “India’s deeply disturbed by the recent turn of developments in Ukraine. We urge that all efforts are made for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities,” said India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti at the UNSC meeting on Ukraine.

“It is a matter of regret that the path of diplomacy was given up. We must return to it. For all these reasons India has chosen to abstain on this resolution,” Tirumurti said.

Earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Kiev has requested the UN Security Council to immediately hold consultations under the Budapest memorandum to discuss de-escalation and steps to ensure the security of Ukraine.

Ukraine signed the treaty with the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia in 1994, agreeing to give up the nuclear arsenal left behind by the Soviet Union in its territory in exchange for security guarantees by the other signatories. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during his address to the Munich Security Conference that he will initiate negotiations of the participants to the Budapest memorandum.

File Image: Putin and Modi

“On President @ZelenskyyUa’s initiative, I officially requested UNSC member states to immediately hold consultations under Article 6 of the Budapest memorandum to discuss urgent actions aimed at de-escalation, as well as practical steps to guarantee the security of Ukraine,” Kuleba posted on Twitter.

Earlier, India had urged all the parties to the Ukrainian crisis to fulfill the Minsk Agreements and calls for further diplomatic engagement in finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Indian Ambassador to the United Nations T.S. Tirumurti had said.

“We believe that the Minsk Agreements provide the basis for a negotiated and peaceful settlement of the situation in Eastern Ukraine. Accordingly, we urge all parties to continue to engage through all possible diplomatic channels and to keep working towards the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” Tirumurti said in his address to the UN Security Council.

The ambassador stressed that the issue “can only be resolved through a diplomatic dialogue.”

Tirumurti welcomed diplomatic efforts of the Normandy Four and the Trilateral Contact Group formats in resolving the issue peacefully.

“We welcome the efforts underway for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, including through the Trilateral Contact Group and under the Normandy format. … We also believe that meetings under the Normandy format will further facilitate the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, including its key security and political aspects,” he said.

Tirumurti added that peace and stability in the region was in India’s interests as “more than 20,000 Indian students and nationals live and study in different parts of Ukraine, including in its border areas.” The well-being of Indian nationals residing in Ukraine is the priority to India, the ambassador said.