New Delhi: The 21st edition of the bilateral Naval Exercise between India and France – Exercise Varuna that commenced on the Western Seaboard on January 16 concluded on January 20, 2023.
The bilateral exercises between the two navies were initiated in 1993, and was christened ‘VARUNA’ in 2001. Over years, it became a hallmark of India – France strategic bilateral relationship.
At the culmination of five days of multifarious exercises, Varuna yet again vividly illustrated the strong strategic partnership between France and India. Strengthening the cooperation between the two maritime forces further, it demonstrated their resolve and commitment to bolstering regional maritime security and stability.
The 2023 edition witnessed participation of indigenous guided missile stealth destroyer INS Chennai, guided missile frigate INS Teg, maritime patrol aircraft P-8I and Dornier, integral helicopters and MiG29K fighter aircraft. The French Navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, frigates FS Forbin and Provence, support vessel FS Marne and maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique.
During the exercise advanced air defence exercises, tactical manoeuvres, surface firings, underway replenishment and other maritime operations were conducted. Units of both navies endeavoured to hone their war-fighting skills in maritime theatre, enhanced their inter-operability to undertake multi-discipline operations in the maritime domain and demonstrated their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the region.
Having grown in scope and complexity over the years, this exercise provides an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices. The exercise facilitates operational level interaction between the two navies to foster mutual cooperation for good order at sea, underscoring the shared commitment of both nations to security, safety and freedom of the global maritime commons.
Varuna is visible representation of the excellent cooperation between the Indian and French navies in the Indian Ocean.