India mobilized a solid contingent of 550 personnel for Exercise Bright Star-23
Exercise Bright Star-23, the largest ever multilateral military exercise in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region which ended on Thursday (September 14, 2023), saw impressive participation from all three wings of the Indian Armed Forces.

An ensemble of 34 countries unfurled their flags, joining this edition of the exercise which was conducted from August 31 to September 14, 2023 at the Mohammed Naguib Military Base in Egypt. The exercise aimed to counter contemporary threats & enhance interoperability amongst participating nations. The previous Exercise Bright Star was in 2021, when forces of 21 countries had participated. 

India, cognizant of the event's strategic importance, mobilized a solid contingent of 550 personnel. The Indian Army's contribution stood at 137 personnel from the 23 Jat Battalion, all of whom embarked on this transcontinental military journey on August 29, 2023.

This edition of the exercise also saw the Indian Navy's debut. The formidable INS Sumedha gracefully berthed at Port Alexandria on September 6, 2023, marking its maiden appearance and joining the naval elite from diverse nations. 

September 12, 2023, was etched in the annals of Exercise Bright Star-23 as a day of notable accomplishments. The Indian Army, not just as a participant but as a frontrunner, showcased its military prowess. 

The skies above bore testimony to a symphony of aerial collaboration. In a choreographed display of precision and trust, the Indian Air Force's IL-78 tanker seamlessly refuelled Egypt's Mig 29 M and Rafale jets, all while soaring mid-air. This airborne ballet, further accentuated by the presence of the IAF's Mig 29 UPG, was a testament to the essence of this exercise: promoting mutual growth through cooperative training.

India's perspective on the exercise, as outlined by its Ministry of Defence, presents a multifaceted view. Exercise Bright Star-23 wasn't merely a training ground. It was a golden bridge facilitating the Indian Armed Forces to absorb global best practices, learn from diverse military cultures, and infuse these learnings into its operational DNA. Such engagements fortify defence relationships, propelling them beyond the tactical landscapes into strategic horizons. 

Exercise Bright Star-23, as it stands today, is a monumental beacon in the realm of international military collaborations. Nestled under the joint orchestration of the US CENTCOM and the Egyptian Army, the exercise set a new benchmark with its intricate drills and strategies.

The origins of this exercise are deeply entrenched in global geopolitics. The Camp David Accord of 1977 provided a fertile ground for fostering bilateral military cooperation between the US and Egypt. The first sapling of this partnership was sown in 1980 when Egypt stepped into the limelight, hosting the pioneering edition of Exercise Bright Star. The overwhelming success of this venture soon accelerated its growth trajectory, and by 1995, it metamorphosed into a global military rendezvous, welcoming nations from disparate corners of the globe.

The overarching ambition of this massive collaboration transcends the show of strength. As explicitly announced, it's about curating intense training modules and  fine-tuning operational nuances. The exercise aims to ensure a stable global geopolitical environment.


Exercise Bright Star-23, while rooted in operational and tactical engagements, symbolizes far more. It is the embodiment of the spirit of defence collaboration, an ethos transcending borders, bridging cultures, and fostering friendships. As the curtains descend on this edition, one realizes that this exercise is more than a confluence of military strategies. It's a nexus for knowledge dissemination, a platform for shared growth, and a crucible where mutual respect and admiration are forged.

The nuances of the drills, the meticulous planning, and the execution provide glimpses into the future of global military collaborations. The Indian contingent, with its specialized expertise in diverse terrains, notably desert warfare, has not just showcased its capabilities but also imbibed valuable insights from its global counterparts. This exchange isn't unilateral; it's reciprocal. As Indian troops share their experiences and expertise, they, in turn, execute the learned tactics of their peers for future defense operations.

This diplomatic exchange additionally lays the foundation for enduring military alliances. Such collaborations, while grounded in the present, have an eye on the future. They are instrumental in shaping a cohesive, collaborative, and secure global defence paradigm. 

In sum, Exercise Bright Star-23 has emerged as more than an event; it's a milestone in global military diplomacy. And as the participants march forward, they carry with them not just memories but also lessons, strategies, and a renewed vision for a collaborative future.