India, ASEAN Plus multilateral military exercise FORCE 18 concluded in Pune

Mar 9, 2016 15:15 IST

Exercise FORCE 18, the largest ground forces multinational field training exercise on Humanitarian Mine Action and Peacekeeping Operations concluded on 8 March 2016 in Pune, Maharashtra.

The closing ceremony of the multilateral military exercise between the Indian Army and Armies of countries from the ASEAN Plus was presided over by General Dalbir Singh, Chief of Army Staff.

The closing ceremony began with marching in of contingents from the participating ASEAN Plus countries followed by National Anthem and ASEAN Anthem.

FORCE 18, which was conducted from 2 March to 8 March 2016, was the largest Ground Forces Exercise ever conducted on Indian soil.

The Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers was led by Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a Woman Officer from the Corps of Signals. Qureshi 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.

About ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic organization of ten Southeast Asian countries.

It was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and socio-cultural evolution among its members alongside protection of regional stability as well as providing a mechanism for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.

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