Exercise Varuna symbolises the strategic bilateral cooperation between France and India

The 21st edition of the India-France bilateral naval exercise, Exercise Varuna, began on India's Western Seaboard on Monday.

Initiated in 1993, the bilateral exercise between the two navies was christened 'Varuna' in 2001 and has since grown to symbolize the strategic bilateral cooperation between France and India.

During the exercise, the Indian Navy will be represented by the indigenous INS Chennai guided missile stealth destroyer, the indigenous INS Teg guided missile frigate, the P-8I and Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, the integrated helicopters, and the MiG-29K fighter aircraft.

The French Navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, the frigates FS Forbin and Provence, the support vessel FS Marne, and the Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft.

The drill, which will take place over five days from January 16 to 20, 2023, will feature tactical maneuvers, surface firings, underway resupply, and other marine activities.

Additionally, units of both navies will work to improve their capacity to conduct multi-discipline maritime operations, their interoperability, and their ability to function as a cohesive force to advance regional peace, security, and stability.

According to India's Ministry of Defence, 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, the ministry added.