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'Varuna' largest Indo-French exercise till date underway

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'Varuna', the joint exercise of navies of India and France currently underway off the coast of Goa is the largest ever joint exercise undertaken by the two navies yet, and represents the pinnacle of the strengthened maritime co-operation between India and France, statements issued by both navies said on Monday.

Eleven of the most modern units of the two countries participated in the exercise, the joint statement said.

"Today our port visit in Goa is a unique opportunity to strengthen our ties with the Indian Navy through the bilateral Varuna exercise. Indeed, it will be the largest-ever conducted Varuna exercise with 11 of India and France's most modern units, including two aircraft carriers and two submarines," the joint press statement for exercise Varuna stated.

The first phase of the Indo-French joint exercise began off Goa's coast on May 1 and is scheduled to culminate on May 10. The second phase, on the other hand, is slated to be held in May-end near Djibouti.

The training which is to be held till May 10 will include anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations.

"Relations between our Navies lie within the framework of the India/France Strategic Partnership signed in 1998 to improve our bilateral military cooperation. France and India have reached a very high level of military interaction enabling a mutual understanding and fostering regular upgrades of our interoperability through bilateral ties" the statement said.

At least six French navy ships are participating in the exercise, including the French Navy's aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers, FNS Forbin and FNS Provence, the frigate FNS Latouche-Treville, the tanker FNS Marne and a nuclear submarine. Around 3,000 French sailors are on board for this two-part maritime exercise.

From the Indian side, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, destroyer INS Mumbai, the Teg-class frigate, INS Tarkash, the Shishumar - class submarine, INS Shankul, and the Deepak-class fleet tanker, INS Deepak, are participating in the joint exercise.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 06 2019. 15:43 IST