The Indian Navy initiated a joint maritime exercise Varuna with the French Navy at the Mediterranean Sea on 24 April 2017. The exercise concluded on 30 April 2017. The 15th edition of Indo-French naval exercise “Varuna” took place at Toulon port on southern France’s Mediterranean coast. This exercise aims to deepen combat coordination between the two navies.
Highlights of Joint Naval Exercise Varuna:
- The purpose of the current naval exercise is to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly and like-minded countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen the existing bonds between India and France.
- From the Indian side, guided missile destroyer INS Mumbai, stealth frigate INS Trishul and fleet tanker INS Aditya took part in it.
- The ships are part of the Indian Navy’s overseas deployment to the Mediterranean Sea and West Coast of Africa, and they arrived at Toulon port on southern France’s Mediterranean coast.
- It is for the third consecutive year that France has deployed this important mission in the Indian Ocean, the China Seas and the Pacific region.
- Helicopters and Rafale fighter jets were also in use during this exercise.
- This exercise was also a concrete illustration of the importance that France and India – both powers in the Indian Ocean Rim – attach to maritime security.
There has been significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation and exchanges including naval exercises between India and France after the establishment of the strategic partnership in 1998. The Indian Navy and the French Navy have been conducting naval exercises since 1983. Following the establishment of a strategic partnership, these exercises were christened as Varuna in 2001.