India and France have have jointly carried out a maritime surveillance mission in the Mozambique Channel using P-8I Poseidon and Falcon 50 aircraft. Indian Navy’s P-8I Poseidon arrived in Reunion on 8 November as part of coordinated operations with the French Navy to provide surveillance in the Reunion exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a United States maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and derived from the civilian Boeing 737-800. It was developed for the United States Navy (USN).

Joint surveillance and mapping took place from 9 to 11 November with the P-8I and French Navy Falcon 50 maritime surveillance aircraft.

“This deployment will further enhance maritime domain awareness, security and safety in the Southern Indian Ocean Region (IOR),” the Indian Navy said.

Réunion is an island in the Indian Ocean that is an overseas department and region of France. It is located approximately 950 km (590 mi) east of the island of Madagascar and 175 km (109 mi) southwest of the island of Mauritius.

In addition to joint surveillance and ocean bed mapping, France and India will combat piracy, drug trafficking, arms smuggling and the presence of ‘extraneous powers’ on the eastern seaboard of Africa.

The joint surveillance mission comes after a similar mission in May 2022, which involved a P-8I deploying to Reunion along with French frigates Floreal and Nivose, and a P-8I deployment to Reunion in March 2020.

The joint mission also follows weeks after a maiden naval exercise between India, Mozambique and Tanzania that was held from 27 to 29 October.

The Indian Navy was represented by the guided missile frigate INS Tarkash. The exercise aimed at capability development to address common threats through training and sharing of best practices.

As part of the harbour phase, capability building activities such as vessel boarding, search and seizure (VBSS), small arms training, joint diving operations, damage control and fire fighting drills and cross deck visits were scheduled. The sea phase covered boat operations, fleet manoeuvres, VBSS, helicopter operations, formation anchoring and patrols.

Indian Naval vessel INS Tarkash in October in South Africa for Exercise Ibsamar VII, which ran from 10-12 October off the Eastern Cape between the South African and Indian navies.