The inaugural edition of the Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 (AFINDEX-19) culminated on 27 March 2019 after a validation exercise and an impressive closing ceremony at Foreign Training Node, Aundh Military Station, Pune. General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff witnessed the closing ceremony alongwith other dignitaries included senior military officers of the Indian Army and representatives of 17 African nations namely Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Indian contingent was represented by MARATHA Light Infantry (Jangi Paltan). The validation exercise showcased various tactical drills which included protection of civilians, establishment of standing combat deployment, convoy protection, patrolling aspects and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices which were practiced as part of joint exercise for the past 10 days. AFINDEX-19 demonstrated the commitment and capabilities of the participating nations in working closely with each other in Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations under the United Nations mandate. The exercise was also attended by observers from three African nations i.e. Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Mozambique.
The validation exercise was followed by equipment display organised under the aegis of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) at Aundh Military Station. General Bipin Rawat and other senior army officers witnessed more than 11 categories of indigenously developed defence related equipment displayed by various agencies to include Ordnance Factories, Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO), leading private sector companies and startups to showcase some of the latest weapon systems and vehicles produced indigenously.
During the closing address, General Bipin Rawat brought out that the exercise has been a grand success with the troops of all participating nations showing impeccable training standards and mutual cooperation. He congratulated the participating nations for showing great enthusiasm and zeal during the entire duration of AFINDEX-19. He also interacted with the contingents and Defence Attaches of the participating nations after the closing ceremony.
The social interactions between the contingents have also contributed towards developing better interpersonal relations and bonds of friendship across geographical boundaries and the exercise has been a landmark event to promote values of Peace, Prosperity, International Brotherhood and Trust amongst the participating nations.