Indian Ocean Region
As a neighbouring power in the Indian Ocean (in the islands of Reunion and Mayotte with over 1 million French citizens), France plays a particular role in the region, reinforced by the development of privileged relations with India. Our two countries are working jointly to fight piracy and trafficking in this area. End-April 2015, a major, joint aero-naval exercise, “Varuna” will take place off the Goa coast. This will be France’s maiden aero-naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, and France is doing it with India. France also wants to promote economic, heritage and tourism cooperation in this zone, and is mobilizing her European partners in this endeavour. A direct air connection (Air Austral Airlines) between Chennai and Saint-Denis, the capital of Reunion Island, was launched in June 2013.
11. The two countries agreed to commence bilateral dialogue to discuss ways and means of enhancing their cooperation in the maritime domain, in particular in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). India welcomes closer engagement of France in the affairs of the Indian Ocean Rim Association and will continue to work closely with France in realization of the objectives enshrined in the Charter of the Association.