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Woman officer leading Indian Army contingent at Force 18

Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a young woman officer of the Indian Army, is leading the country’s contingent at Force 18, the largest ever foreign military exercise hosted by India, which began in Pune on Wednesday.

Ten members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN,) plus eight observer states India, Japan, Korea, China, Russia, United States, Australia and New Zealand - are participating in the eight-day exercise with themes ‘Humanitarian Mine Action’ and ‘Peacekeeping Operations’.

In its first phase, over 28 foreign trainers were trained by the Indian Army from February 24 to March 1. These trainers will form the training backbone for the conduct of the exercise. 

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

Lt Col Qureshi happens to be the only woman officer Contingent Commander among all ASEAN Plus contingents present for the exercise. 
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