INS Vikramaditya fire: Navy says aircraft carrier will participate in ‘Varuna’ exercise, Karwar base contradicts
INS Vikramaditya was returning to its base in Karwar to take part in the joint exercise with France slated from May 1-6 off Karwar and Goa coasts, when the fire took place in it.
KARWAR: With just four days to go for an Indo-French naval exercise, questions are being raised on the participation of the host country’s only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in it.
Though highly placed sources in the Indian Navy told TNIE that the vessel will participate in ‘Varuna’ exercise, insiders in the INS Kadamba Naval Base in Karwar said it is doubtful, after Friday’s fire accident in the aircraft carrier in which a naval officer died and nine others suffered injuries.
After participating in Operational Sea Training off Kochi coast, INS Vikramaditya was returning to its base in Karwar to take part in the joint exercise with France slated from May 1-6 off Karwar and Goa coasts, when the accident took place.
The 17th edition of Indo-France naval exercise features INS Vikramaditya with MiG-29K and FNS Charles de Gaulle of France with Rafale-M naval fighter jets.
Sources in the Indian Navy told TNIE that the fire accident damaged a compartment of the vessel. Though it may not affect its operations, sources said it could take a month to rectify it.
India will deploy its destroyers including INS Chennai, stealth frigate INS Tarkash, auxiliary ships, submarines, helicopters and more with its hundreds of crew in the joint exercise. Along with its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, France will deploy some of its destroyers and nuclear attack submarines.
“The exercise will be conducted as per scheduled. Whether INS Vikramaditya participates or not will have no effect on other exercises and activities. Under the bilateral agreement, both the countries have planned to expand their maritime collaborative efforts and this year’s exercise will be the largest so far under Varuna edition”, a Navy official said.