US Air Force Chief of Staff General David L Goldfien is on an official visit to India as part of the growing strategic relationship between India and the United States. The importance attached to the visit is evident from the fact that the Air Force chief is accompanied by the US Pacific Air Forces Commander General Terrence O'Shaughnessy.

The highlight of the Air Chief's visit was a sortie in the indigenously built Indian supersonic fighter the Tejas. The Times has reported that the General flew the plane along with the commander of the wing at Jodhpur.


General Goldfien also met the Chief of Air Staff of the IAF, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and discussed how closer cooperation could be achieved between the two air forces.

The Tejas is a Mach 2 fighter -interceptor manufactured at Bangalore by Hindustan Aeronautics. It was inducted into the Indian Air Force in 2016. The US general was the first foreign officer to have flown this plane and the flight approved by the PM.

Reports indicate that the general was happy with the performance of the plane which he flew as a co-pilot. Earlier the general had flown in by special IAF communication squadron plane from Delhi to Jodhpur, which is one of the premier wings of the IAf in the western sector.

The close affinity between the two airforces was evident from the fact that General Goldfien was taken to India's most sensitive base and also given the opportunity to fly the Tejas.

Tejas part of 'Make in India'

The Indian Defence Review has reported that the Tejas fighter plane is part of the initiative " make in India" launched by prime minister Modi.

It took ten years to develop. The US is also happy with this idea and Lockheed the aircraft manufacturer has offered to shift the entire assembly line of its F-16 fighters to India. If that happens, India will become the global hub for the F-16 fighters.

Military relationship

Military relationship between India and the USA is getting stronger, especially as both have a common adversary in China.

The Americans need India to counter China, just as India needs US tech and military support to counter China's massive buildup in Tibet on the northern border.

The visit of the seniormost Airforce officer of the USAF will not be to the liking of China and Pakistan. His flying the Tejas at Jodhpur and access to top-secret Indian airbase is another irritant.

So long as China continues its aggressive policy, this strategic relationship between India and the USA will only get stronger.