Many Soviet-supplied aircraft have crashed in India’s air force in recent years.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) reported that the pilot ejected successfully during a routine training mission shortly after takeoff.
The pilot “experienced an onboard emergency and then attempted to recover the aircraft by existing procedures,” according to an IAF statement.
“Having failed to do so, he voluntarily initiated an ejection, sustaining minor injuries in the process,” it stated.
“The IAF mourns the loss of life and extends its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased. To determine the cause of the accident, a Court of Inquiry has been convened.”
The collision was the latest in a string of mishaps that the Indian military had endured.
In July 2022, two pilots perished when their MiG-21 training aircraft collided in Rajasthan.
This was the sixth MiG-21 aircraft to crash since January 2021, with five pilots losing their lives.
MiG-21 aircraft manufactured in the Soviet Union entered Indian service in the 1960s, during the Cold War, and served as the backbone of the country’s air force for decades.
Numerous accidents over the past few decades have led to the nickname “flying coffins” for aircraft.
It bought dozens of French Rafale fighter jets for its air force to diversify away from Russia.
New Delhi is also investing significantly in its defense industry development. India inaugurated its largest helicopter manufacturing facility in February, months after launching a ballistic missile from its first domestic nuclear-powered submarine and unveiling its first domestic aircraft carrier.
Simultaneously, it has been attempting to sell more of its domestically produced hardware to other nations, especially poorer nations that cannot afford more costly Western-made equipment.