The Indian military is for the first time taking part in the United States-led Exercise Bright Star in Egypt, alongside 33 other nations.
The Indian Ministry of Defence on 29 August said 137 Indian Army personnel have departed for Egypt for the exercise, which is scheduled to be conducted from 31 August to 14 September at Mohammed Naguib Military Base in Egypt.
The multinational tri-services joint military exercise will be led by US Central Command and the Egyptian Army. It was initially conceptualized as a bilateral biennial training exercise between the US and Egypt during the Camp David Accord of 1977. The first edition of the Exercise was conducted in 1980 in Egypt. From 1995 onwards the exercise was expanded for participation by other nations. The previous edition was held in 2021, with the participation of 21 countries.
This year 34 countries will participate in what will be the largest ever joint military exercise in the Middle East and North Africa region. India will contribute 549 personnel, as well as five MiG-29 fighter jets, two C-17 and two C-130 transports, and two Il-78 aerial tankers.
The Exercise will comprise of a large number of training activities focused on combating emerging unconventional threats and enhancing regional partnerships amongst participating nations aimed at maintaining world peace. In addition to the various field and situational training exercises, Exercise Bright Star 23 will also include a combined arms live firing exercise. A panel discussion on contemporary topics is also planned to be conducted on Cyber Security for which the Indian Armed Forces are the lead force.
US Army M1A2 main battle tanks and M88A2 Hercules recovery vehicles are being shipped to Egypt in preparation for Bright Star 23. US Marines will also deploy their amphibious armoured vehicles to jointly conduct amphibious landing drills for first time since Bright Star 2009.
A total of 8 000 troops from 34 countries are expected to take part in Bright Star 23.