Indo-French joint naval exercise “Varuna” kicks off at Goa coast

The first part of the Indo-French joint naval exercise “Varuna” was kicked off the Goa coast from Wednesday.

The exercise will conclude on May 10.

The upcoming 17th edition includes participation of the French Navy’s aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers, FNS Forbin and FNS Provence, the frigate FNS Latouche-Treville, the tanker FNS Marne and a nuclear submarine.

From the Indian side, the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, destroyer INS Mumbai, the Teg-class frigate, INS Tarkash, the Shishumar- class submarine, INS Shankul, and the Deepak- class fleet tanker, INS Deepak, will be participating in this exercise, an Indian Navy spokesperson said.

The exercise will be conducted in two phases.

The harbour phase at Goa would include cross-visits, professional interactions and discussions and sports events while the sea phase would comprise various exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations.

The second part of the joint exercise is scheduled to be held at the end of May in Djibouti.

The bilateral naval exercise initiated in 1983 and christened as “Varuna” in 2001, form a vital part of the Indo-French strategic partnership. Having grown in scope and complexity over the years, this exercise exemplifies the strong relations between the two nations, in line with the Joint Strategic Vision of India-French Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region signed by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the former’s State visit to India in March 2018.

The Varuna exercise aims at developing interoperability between the two navies and fostering mutual cooperation by learning from each other’s best practices to conduct joint operations.

The exercise underscores the shared interests and commitment of both nations in promoting maritime security.

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