New installment of India-France joint naval exercise underway

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New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) The Indian and French Navies are conducting joint exercise ‘Varuna’, the sea phase of which will start on Tuesday, in a bid to increase interoperability between the two forces, an official statement said.

The harbour phase of the exercise was held from March 15-19, and on Tuesday, the ships would head out for the sea phase.

“The conduct of Varuna, and the special impetus on taking this Navy-to-Navy cooperative engagement forward, was reiterated in the Joint Statement made by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, on March 10, 2018,” the statement said.

“The Varuna series of exercises have grown in scope and complexity over the years and provide an opportunity to both Navies to increase interoperability and learn from each other’s best practices.”

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Varuna-18 would be conducted on the Arabian Sea, as well as the Bay of Bengal and the South Western Indian Ocean.

The first phase, being conducted in the Arabian Sea, will see participation of a French submarine and frigate Jean de Vienne, while the Indian naval will field destroyer Mumbai, frigate Trikand with their integral helicopters, submarine Kalvari, P8-I and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, as well as the Mig 29K fighter aircraft.

India and France have been conducting bilateral maritime exercises since May 1993.

Since 2001, the exercises have been named Varuna, and there have been fifteen editions of the same till date. The last edition of Varuna was conducted off France in April 2017.

–IANS

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