Exercise BRIGHT STAR is a multilateral, cross-service exercise that takes place once every two years. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has sent a team to the Cairo (West) Air Base in Egypt to participate in the 2023 edition of the drill, scheduled from the 27th of August to the 16th of September.
For the first time, the IAF is taking part in a military exercise of this scale involving certain nations. Particularly noteworthy is that contingents from the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Qatar will all be participating in the drill. The Indian Air Force is participating with five MiG-29 aircraft, two IL-78 aircraft, two C-130 aircraft, and two C-17 aircraft. Personnel serving in the Garud Special Forces of the Indian Air Force, along with personnel of the Indian Air Force’s Squadrons 28, 77, 78, and 81, will take part in the exercise. In addition, the transport planes of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will provide airlift services to around 150 personnel of the Indian Army.
The fundamental objective of this exercise is to participate in the intentional and systematic development of abilities linked to the strategic planning and efficient implementation of joint military operations. These exchanges help strengthen ties across international borders and provide a framework for strengthening strategic connections between the participating states. One might draw parallels between the involvement of Israeli Air Force contingents in international flying exercises and the donning of flight suits by diplomats.
Both India and Egypt have worked hard to preserve a robust bilateral relationship marked by substantial cooperation. In particular, during the 1960s, the two countries worked together on researching and developing aircraft and aeronautical technologies. In addition, colleagues from India were instrumental in providing Egyptian pilots with training throughout their careers. Recent reciprocal trips by the Chief of Air Forces from both countries, as well as the Indian Defence Minister and Prime Minister, contributed significantly to strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries. In addition, the two countries have increased the time they spend working together to train their armed forces by organising regular training sessions in which both militaries participate.