Third phase of Varuna bilateral exercise
Indian and French navies conduct third phase of Varuna bilateral exercise at France’s Reunion Island base.
1st - 7th May
The Indian and French navies are conducting the last phase of the 2018 Varuna naval exercise, from 1st to 7th of May, in the vicinity of Reunion Island. A French administrative department, 8,50,000 French citizens reside in this island of the Indian Ocean, the region having a total French population of about 1.6 million.
The third session is being held after two successive phases, the first having involved joint anti-submarine combat training off the Indian coast in Goa, with the participation of both the French nuclear submarine and the Indian Kalvari Scorpene-class submarine, and the second being focused on amphibious operations off Chennai’s coast, with the French landing helicopter dock LHD Dixmude.
The current exercise includes the participation of two major vessels of the Indian Navy, the destroyer INS Mumbai and the frigate INS Trikand, and, the maiden deployment at Reunion Island of a multimission maritime aircraft, P-8I Neptune. They will interact with the French ships permanently deployed at Reunion Island, including the frigate Nivôse. The seven-day exercise sees the sailors simulating different scenarios, including air defense, firing, manoeuvers, asymmetric warfare and embarkation. Helicopters embarked on board navy ships are also training for touch-and-go landings.
Underscoring the relevance of Varuna, the Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, said, “This exercise illustrates the strong interest France and India share concerning maritime security issues in this region.”
A strong symbol of the Indo-French strategic partnership, the Varuna exercise is part of a long-term bilateral cooperation with India, illustrated by the regular port visits of French ships in India, and recently reinforced by the document on the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, signed during the State visit of President Emmanuel Macron on 10th March 2018.