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SOURCE: ANI

The 21st edition of the bilateral naval exercise between India and France titled ‘Varuna’ began on the western seaboard on Monday. The bilateral naval exercise will be conducted from January 16-20 and will include advanced air defence exercises, tactical manoeuvres, surface firings, underway replenishment and other maritime operations.

“The exercise will be conducted over five days from 16 to 20 January 2023 and will witness advanced air defence exercises, tactical manoeuvres, surface firings, underway replenishment and other maritime operations,” the Ministry of Defence said in the press release. Initiated in 1993, the exercise was christened ‘Varuna’ in 2001 and has become a “hallmark of India-France strategic relationship,” the Ministry of Defence said in the press release.

The bilateral naval exercise will see the participation of indigenous guided missile stealth destroyer INS Chennai, guided missile frigate INS Teg, maritime patrol aircraft P-8I and Dornier, integral helicopters and MiG29K fighter aircraft. The French navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, frigates FS Forbin and Provence, support vessel FS Marne and maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique.

The units of both navies in the bilateral exercise will endeavour to hone their war-fighting skills in maritime theatre and bolster their interoperability to undertake multidiscipline operations in the maritime domain.

The Exercise Varuna allows operational-level interaction between the two navies to strengthen mutual cooperation for good order at sea, underscoring the shared commitment of both nations to security, safety and freedom of the global maritime commons. “Units of both navies will endeavour to hone their war-fighting skills in maritime theatre, enhance their inter-operability to undertake multi-discipline operations in the maritime domain and demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the region,” the Ministry of Defence said in the press release.

It further said, “Having grown in scope and complexity over the years, this exercise provides an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices. The exercise facilitates operational level interaction between the two navies to foster mutual cooperation for good order at sea, underscoring the shared commitment of both nations to security, safety and freedom of the global maritime commons.”