In an effort to strengthen bilateral security cooperation, India and France launched the three-day ‘Varuna’ naval exercise in the Arabian Sea.
The French Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle and its Rafale-M naval fighter jets are taking part in the exercise. France has also sent an air defense destroyer, the Chevalier Paul, as well as the multi-mission frigate FNS Provence and the command and supply ship Var. It has also used E2C Hawkeye planes and helicopters.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has deployed the guided-missile stealth destroyer INS Kolkata, the stealth frigates INS Tarkash and INS Talwar, the fleet support ship INS Deepak, a Kalvari class submarine, Seaking-42B and Chetak helicopters, and the P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft.
The two navies would participate in advanced air defense and anti-submarine warfare exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations, tactical manoeuvres, surface and anti-air weapon firings, and a variety of other maritime security operations during the exercise.
It should be noted that shortly before this, earlier this month, the two navies had also partaken in another exercise in the Bay of Bengal. The exercise involved Australia, Japan, and the United States as well, and was called “France plus Quad” La Perouse wargames.