In a major development towards fostering global defence cooperation, an Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent will be participating in Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23, a biennial multilateral tri-service exercise scheduled to be held at Cairo (West) Air Base, Egypt, from August 27 to September 16, 2023.
The IAF’s participation showcases India’s commitment to strengthening strategic partnerships and enhancing joint operational capabilities. In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said, “The objective of the exercise is to practice planning and execution of joint operations. Besides leading to the formation of bonding across borders, such interactions also provide a means to further strategic relations between participating nations.”
Ex BRIGHT STAR-23 will also witness the participation of contingents from the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Qatar. The Indian Air Force contingent will consist of five MiG-29, two IL-78, two C-130 and two C-17 aircraft. Personnel from the IAF’s Garud Special Forces, as well as those from the Numbers 28, 77, 78 and 81 Squadrons, will be participating in the exercise. The IAF transport aircraft will also provide airlift to approximately 150 personnel from the Indian Army.
The IAF’s involvement in international exercises is not merely a display of military capabilities in fact, such exercises are instrumental in strengthening diplomatic relations. As the statement released by the Ministry also said, “IAF contingents to flying exercises abroad are no less than Diplomats in Flight Suits.”
India and Egypt have strong defence cooperation. Recent visits by India’s Defence Minister and Prime Minister to Egypt have further intensified this defence cooperation. The two countries have also enhanced their joint training with regular exercises between their armed forces.
As India continues to rise on the global stage, the IAF’s participation in multinational exercises like BRIGHT STAR-23 cements its status as a force for peace and stability.