VISAKHAPATNAM: French Vessels FNS Dixmude and FNS Aconit which arrived at the Visakhapatnam Port Tuesday on a week-long courtesy visit, would participate in a joint exercise with the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy off Visakhapatnam coast on June 21 and 22. The joint exercise is being held as part of the long-standing cooperation and bilateral relationship programmes between France and India.
Speaking to the mediapersons here Thursday on board FNS Dixmude a landing helicopter dock, Minister Counsellor from the Embassy of France in India Jean-Marc Sere-Charlet said that the French vessels would be the star attraction during the joint operations. “We are looking forward to participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR) 2016 scheduled to be held off Visakhapatnam in February. However, a decision about the fleet which would participate in the IFR, is yet to be taken,” he said.
Military operations, bilateral cooperation actions, diplomatic activities to promote French industry and also training of cadets, have been integrated into the five-month mission of the French vessels which sailed out of France in March this year. As part of its training component, the mission will have 146 cadets take part in the deployment. Foreign officers and trained officers from the 2012 French Naval Academy on promotion will carry out their first operational deployment.
FNS Dixmude participated in the recent evacuation of civilians from Yemen and we were inspired by the excellent role played by INS Mumbai which saved the lives of thousands of people from different nations including France, commanding officer of FNS Dixmude Captain Piere de Briancon said. He also said that the operation was an excellent opportunity for the officers who are undergoing training on the ship. The French vessels were initially scheduled to halt at Kochi but had to cancel it, making Vizag the only port of call in India. These vessels are scheduled to return to Toulon in France by the end of July, said Captain Jean-Pierre Helluy, commanding officer of FNS Aconit a stealth frigate.