The first part of the Indo-French joint naval exercise, Varuna 19.1 will be commenced off the Goa coast on May 1 (Wednesday) and will continue until May 10. The seventeenth 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. The exercise will be conducted in two phases. The harbour phase at Goa would include cross-visits, professional interactions and discussions and sports events. The sea phase would comprise various exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations.
The second part, Varuna 19.2, 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 Indo-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.