Indo-French bilateral naval exercise “Varuna 15”
Indo-French military cooperation: fourteenth edition of the Indo-French bilateral naval exercise “Varuna 15” successfully conducted.
From 28th April to 2nd May 2015, the French carrier strike group made up of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, anti-air warfare destroyer Chevalier Paul, anti-submarine warfare frigate Jean de Vienne and replenishment tanker Meuse, participated in the 14th Varuna naval exercise off the Goa coast with the Indian carrier battle group led by the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
After a preparatory phase of the exercise at Mormugao, the two groups making up a total of ten combat ships headed for the open sea to train in various areas of naval warfare to enhance their interoperability. France’s Rafale Ms and Super Etendards and India’s Sea Harriers trained in surface warfare and air combat, while the escort frigates conducted replenishments at sea and firing drills. Numerous anti-submarine warfare exercises were also carried out, with P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and Shishumar-class submarine from India in core manoeuvres.
The exercises ended on 2nd May with a VIP Day, which involved a tour by French and Indian authorities on board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, followed by a debriefing by the commanders of the respective forces aboard the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. Shri Laxmikant Parsekar, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Goa, H.E Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, Vice-Admiral SPS Cheema, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command, and Vice-Admiral Antoine Beaussant, French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean, were welcomed aboard the Charles de Gaulle off the Goa coast. In all, 17 naval exercises and 120 sorties were carried out during Varuna 15.
A powerful symbol of the strategic partnership between France and India in 1998, this exercise enabled the navies of both countries to deepen their mutual knowledge and strengthen their close ties of friendship. This exercise is a concrete illustration of the importance that France and India, both regional powers of the Indian Ocean Region, attach to maritime security. On the occasion of his recent India visit, the French Minister of Defence, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, and his Indian counterpart, Shri Manohar Parrikar, reviewed the Varuna exercise and expressed their satisfaction with its successful conduct.
The French carrier strike group had left Toulon four months before the Varuna exercise and completed eight weeks of operations in the Persian Gulf as part of the international coalition fighting against “Daesh” terrorists in Iraq. Post-Varuna 15, it has set sail for the Gulf of Aden on its way back to its homeport in Toulon, thus concluding its “Mission Arromanches”.