India & France to hold Exercise Varuna from March to May 2018

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Exercise “Varuna” a Naval Exercise between Navies of India and France would be conducted from March to May 2018. After the interaction of Prime Minister of India and President of France on 10th March 2018 the Navy to Navy cooperative engagement was reiterated in the Joint Statement.

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The exercise will go on for three months in three stages. The First Phase or the harbor phase of the exercise is already started on 15th March which marked the participation of the French Navy’s anti-submarine frigate, Jean de Vienne. The sea phase will be conducted from 20th to 24th March at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), Vasco.

The second phase of the exercise is scheduled in April off the Chennai coast and the third near the La Reunion Island in May.

In 2017, VARUNA was conducted in three sea areas in the European waters.

  • This year too VARUNA-18 would be conducted in three sea areas, namely, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and South Western Indian Ocean.
  • The first phase, being conducted in the Arabian Sea, will see participation of a French submarine and frigate Jean de Vienne from the French side.
  • The Indian Naval participation will include the destroyer Mumbai, frigate Trikand with their integral helicopters, IN submarine Kalvari, P8-I and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, as well as the Mig 29K fighter aircraftSSB InterviewHistorical Background of Ex-Varuna
    • The VARUNA series of exercises have grown in scope and complexity over the years and provide an opportunity to both Navies to increase interoperability and learn from each other’s best practices.
    • In 2017, VARUNA was conducted in three sea areas in the European waters.
    • The Indian Navy and the French Navy have conducted bilateral maritime exercises since May 1993.
    • Since 2001, the exercises have been named VARUNA and there have been fifteen editions of the same till date. The last edition of VARUNA was conducted off the French Coast in Apr 2017.

    Why Exercise Varuna is important?

    • With the increasing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region since last many years it becomes mandatory for India to counter that threat.
    • It aims to improve Indo-French coordination on capabilities like cross-deck operations, replenishment-at-sea,minesweeping, anti-submarine warfare and information sharing.

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