The bilateral Indo-French naval exercises under the 17th edition of Varuna is expected to commence on Tuesday, with the French side confirming it will be the “largest-ever conducted Varuna Exercise” in two decades.
With 11 of the two countries’ modern units, including the western fleet’s Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya and French Navy’s aircraft carrier FNS Charles De Guelle, the exercise will see “participation of greater number and types of naval units from both the sides, including ships, submarines and various aircraft conducting a diverse array of exercise at sea”, according to a joint statement issued Monday.
French aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle, destroyers FNS Forbin and FNS Provence, the frigate FNS Latouche-Treville, the tanker FNS Marne, and a nuclear submarine will represent the French Navy in the maritime exercise. Indian Navy is represented by 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 and INS Deepak.
“The series of operations scheduled in the coming days are very ambitious. Year after year, we have increased the complexity of Varuna. This edition underscores the enhanced level of our inter-operability,” Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas, Commander of the Carrier Strike Group Charles de Gaulle, said.
Rear Admiral Sanjay J Singh, speaking on behalf of the Indian fleet, said sea phase of the exercise will be conducted in two phases.