NEW DELHI: In an attempt to bolster maritime security cooperation between India and France, three Indian warships -- INS Mumbai, INS Talwar and INS Deepak -- reached Saint Denis port of the Reunion Island, France, on Monday.
The ships, under the Command of Rear Admiral R Hari Kumar, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, are on a two month-long overseas deployment to East Africa and the South Indian Ocean Region.
India and France had maintained close friendly relations with bilateral cooperation being extended to various fields.
The establishment of the Strategic Partnership in 1998 witnessed a further rise in bilateral relationswith regular high-level exchanges at the Head of the State and government levels, thus boosting cooperation in trade and investment, culture, science and technology, education, nuclear energy, space and defence to name a few.
The scale and quantum of defence cooperation between the two countries have progressively been stepped up in the past one decade.
The growing defence cooperation is evident from the conduct of annual Naval exercise ‘Varuna’, contract for the construction of Scorpene class submarines and the participation of a 400-strong contingent of the Indian Armed Forces in the Bastille Day parade in 2009, where the Indian Prime Minister was the Guest of Honour.
India and France are also members of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a voluntary and cooperative initiative between 35 countries of the Indian Ocean Region, which has served as an ideal forum for sharing information and cooperation on maritime issues.