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ASEAN Plus Multinational Field Training Exercise 'Force 18'
Mar 12, 2016

Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX)—Exercise FORCE 18, involving ASEAN Plus countries were held in Pune from 2 to 8 March, with themes based on ‘Humanitarian Mine Action’ and ‘Peacekeeping Operations’.

  • This was the largest Ground Forces Exercise ever conducted on Indian soil.

  • In its first phase, over 28 foreign trainers were trained by the Indian Army from 24 February to 1 March 2016. These trainers formed the training backbone for the conduct of ‘Exercise FORCE 18’.

  • An opening ceremony was held at Aundh Military Station which was presided over by Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Commander of Pune based Southern Command.

  • The ceremony began with marching in of the various participating contingents from the ASEAN Plus nations.

  • The ceremony witnessed playing of National Anthem and fly past and was followed by playing the National Anthem of participating countries of ASEAN.

  • The Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers was led by Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a Woman Officer from the Corps of Signals, who now has the rare distinction of becoming the first woman officer to lead an Indian Army training contingent in such a large multinational exercise. The officer also happens to be the only Woman Officer Contingent Commander amongst all other ASEAN Plus contingents present for the exercise.

Over 80 foreign dignitaries witnessed the culmination of the multinational FTX on 7 and 8 March 2016. The high level dignitaries include Deputy Chief of General Staff from Vietnam People’s Army (equivalent to Indian Chief of Army Staff), a three star officer from Mine Action Centre from Thailand and Director General from South Korea. Apart from this, senior officers from Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs and other government organizations including the Defence Secretary also witnessed the FTX.

Exercise FORCE 18 build common understanding and achieve interoperability amongst the 18 ASEAN Plus countries. The foreign participants witnessed martial skills performed by the Indian Army, including Drill by soldiers from the Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre.


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