34 countries from around the world are participating in Exercise Bright Star 2023
The Indian armed forces are all set to participate in Exercise Bright Star 2023, the largest multi-nation tri-service exercise in the Middle-East & North African (MENA) region, for the first time. The exercise will see the participation of 34 countries from around the world, including the US, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Qatar, in addition to India and host Egypt.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent for the biennial exercise has already reached to take part in the biennial exercise being held at the Cairo (West) Air Base in Egypt from August 27 to September 16, 2023. IAF transport aircraft are also providing airlift to approximately 150 personnel from the Indian Army.
The Indian Air Force contingent comprises 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 Ministry of Defence said on Sunday (August 27, 2023).
The objective of the exercise is to practice planning and execution of joint operations to counter contemporary threats. Besides leading to the formation of bonding across borders, such interactions also provide a means to further strategic relations between participating nations, the ministry explained.
"Exercise #BrightStar 2023, the largest Multi-Nation Tri-Service Exercise in Middle East & North African region, will witness participation of #IndianArmedForces for the first time. 
With the participation of 34 countries across the globe, the Exercise in #Egypt aims to counter contemporary threats & enhance interoperability amongst participating Nations," the Indian Army wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Monday (August 28, 2023).
The Indian Air Force shared some images in a post on X to announce the arrival of aircraft and contingent members in Egypt for Exercise Bright Spark 2023. "Touchdown at the Egyptian Air Force base in Cairo. Our home for the next three weeks," the IAF wrote.
India and Egypt have had an exceptional relationship and deep cooperation in the defence sector, wherein the two jointly undertook development of aero-engine and aircraft in the 1960s and training of Egyptian pilots was done by their Indian counterparts. 
According to the Ministry of Defence, the relationship between the two civilizational countries was further strengthened with the recent visits by the Chief of Air Forces of the two countries and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Egypt. The two countries have also enhanced their joint training with regular exercises between their Armed Forces, the Ministry said in a statement in Sunday (August 27, 2023).

Prime Minister Modi visited Egypt in June this year for several bilateral meetings and crucial engagements. The two-day visit on June 24-25, 2023 came at the invitation of President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi. This was Prime Minister Modi's first trip to Egypt since taking office and the first formal bilateral trip by an Indian Prime Minister to Egypt since 1997.

In January this year, President Sisi visited India on a state visit and was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.