Indian Navy and French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its strike group kicked off their large-scale operational cooperation ‘Varuna’ from Goa, according to the statement released by French Embassy, according to the statement released by France Embassy.
According to the official statement, the French Carrier Strike Group, comprising the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, is deployed in the Indian Ocean under the ANTARES mission.
‘Varuna’ kicked off from the Goa coast.
The exercise, to be conducted over five days from January 16 to January 20, exemplifies the outstanding Indo-French naval cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. It also opens in the year 2023 marked by the 25th anniversary of the Indo-French strategic partnership.
“The French Navy ships participating in the drill include the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its embarked air group, several Indian and French frigates and their embarked helicopters, and a French command and replenishment ship will carry out numerous training sessions of increasing intensity,” the statement read.
The statement further added, “The aim of the VARUNA joint exercise is to prepare the crews of these two Indian Ocean nations to face a variety of challenges together, mobilising their anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft assets, as well as shared control of the air-sea environment and ship control. Replenishment at sea, increasingly complex air combat manoeuvres, and firing drills will complete these realistic operational scenarios.”
This joint deployment in the Indian Ocean contributes to ensuring stability in this region in line with France and India’s shared approach of collective security based on respect for international law at sea and in the air. A major annual aero-naval event whose first edition dates back to 1983, VARUNA bears witness to the ability of the French and the Indian Navies to deploy and operate together and exemplifies the high level of trust between France and India, according to the statement.
The 2023 edition holds special significance as France and India embark on a year of celebrations of the 25th anniversary of our strategic partnership and work towards an ambitious agenda for renewing, expanding and deepening this partnership.
Earlier, the Defence Ministry said in a press release that the drills will include advanced air defence exercises, tactical manoeuvres, surface firings, underway replenishment and other maritime operations.
The exercise further allows operational-level interaction between the two navies to strengthen mutual cooperation for good order at sea, underscoring the shared commitment of both nations to security, safety and freedom of the global maritime commons.
“Units of both navies will endeavour to hone their war-fighting skills in maritime theatre, enhance their inter-operability to undertake multi-discipline operations in the maritime domain and demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the region,” the release quoted the Ministry of Defence as saying. (ANI)
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