2018 Mission of French naval task force Jeanne d’Arc
Maritime aspect of Indo-French strategic partnership consolidated.
The Jeanne d’Arc task force led by the French Navy has returned to the Indo-Pacific region. Organized around the amphibious assault ship “Dixmude” and the stealth destroyer “Surcouf”, reinforced by an army contingent, the mission involves the high-level operational deployment of an amphibious group. Having sailed from Toulon, France, to finally weigh anchor in Darwin, Australia, the Jeanne d’Arc 2018 mission will cover half the globe.
After crossing the Suez Canal on 8th March, 2018, and having participated in the amphibious joint services exercise, Wakri, held between the French forces stationed at Djibouti and the Djiboutian armed forces from 19th to 22nd March, the naval group called at Chennai, India, on 3rd April. This deployment comes in addition to the permanent sovereignty forces that France possesses in its overseas territories in the South Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. These territories provide France over 80% of its exclusive economic zone, i.e. more than 9 million square kilometres. More than 1.5 million French citizens live in these territories and nearly 1,70,000 of them reside in countries of the Indo-Pacific region.
One year after the call of the Jeanne d’Arc 2017 task force in Mumbai, Indo-French security and defence relations have reached a turning point with the State visit of President Emmanuel Macron to India. The Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region adopted during the visit expresses a common global ambition of our two great democracies, which share the same vision of an international order built on the rule of law and responsible multilateralism. The signing of an intergovernmental agreement on reciprocal logistics support will facilitate interactions between our armed forces. Inter-services cooperation in the Indian Ocean is developing on this basis, as illustrated by the conduct of the major “Varuna” naval exercise in March and April, with a French submarine.
Bilateral cooperation on maritime security is thus occupying an increasingly important place under the Indo-French strategic partnership.