Goa, May 2: The 14th edition of Indo-French naval exercise Varuna concluded in Goa today, May 2. The exercise which began on April 23, saw the participation of four French naval ships.
They included French Navy's aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne, replenishment tanker Meuse and a maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique 2.
The 10-day long exercise had both harbour and sea phases. Indian Navy officials said that the exercise went a long way in enhancing the interoperability between the two navies.
Exhibition of close ties between the nations
"It also showcased the close ties between the two countries," a naval spokesperson said. The relationship between India and France had blossomed further recently with India ordering Dassault Aviation's 36 Rafale jets in a fly-away condition.
Naval officials said that the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle had it its complement of platforms including Rafale M, strike aircraft Super Etendard, E2C Hawkeye AWACS and helicopters Dauphin and Alouette 3.
Both the navies have been conducting exercises since 1983 and following the establishment of a strategic partnership. The exercise was christened Varuna in 2001.
INS Viraat and INS Mumbai joins the party
During the exercise, the Indian Navy was represented by aircraft carrier INS Viraat, destroyer INS Mumbai, stealth frigate Tarkash, guided missile frigate Gomati, replenishment tanker Deepak, submarine Shankul and a few Fast Attack Crafts.
Joining in from the flying arm of Indian Navy were carrier-borne fighter Sea Harriers, maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I and Dorniers. The rotor wing platforms included Seaking 42B and Chetak.
"The scope of Varuna includes the entire gamut of maritime operations from aircraft carrier operations, anti-submarines warfare exercises, maritime interdiction operations to multi-ship replenishment exercise," a naval spokesperson said.
Professional content goes up over the years
He said that regular interaction between the two navies over the years have allowed to gradually increase the complexity and professional content of Varuna.
"Varuna aims at deriving mutual benefit from the experiences of the two navies. The confidence gained through such exercises helps develop standard operating procedures, particularly in the fields of Joint Maritime Air Operations Planning with exchange of Carrier Operational Capabilities," the spokesperson added.
OneIndia Defence Desk