Indo-French naval exercise 'Varuna-18' begins off Goa coast
Polity & Governance
24th Apr, 2019
The navies of India and France are engaged in a joint bilateral exercise, "Varuna-18", in the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast .
The drill would include anti-submarine, air defence and asymmetric engagement exercises.
- The two countries would explore the measures to facilitate the operational-level interactions between their respective armed forces and increase mutual cooperation, considering the common global threats .
- "Varuna-18" would be conducted in three sea areas -- the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the South Western Indian Ocean.
- The first phase would see the participation of the French Navy's anti-submarine frigate, Jean de Vienne.
- The second leg of the exercise is being held off the Chennai coast in April and the third would be held near the La Reunion Island in May.
- The Indian Navy's submarine, Kalvari, P8-1 and Dornier maritime patrol aircraft and MiG 29K fighter aircraft are also participating in the exercise.
- Besides the French Navy's Jean de Vienne, the Indian Navy's destroyer, INS Mumbai, and frigate INS Trikand are among the vessels participating in the exercise.
- The naval forces of India and France have been conducting joint bilateral exercises since 1993.
- Since 2001, these exercises are called "Varuna" and 15 editions of the same have been held till date.
- In 2017, the "Varuna" was conducted in three sea areas in the European waters.
- Maritime cooperation between India and France is crucial in order to maintain the safety of international sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications in accordance with the international laws, for countering maritime terrorism and piracy and building maritime domain awareness.
- The exercise also comes at a time when the Indian Ocean is witnessing an increased Chinese naval presence.
- Real Admiral Didier Piaton, who is heading the French side for the exercise, said India was a major partner of France in the Indian Ocean region.
- The Varuna series of exercises has 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 .