India-French navies bolster ties, focus on advanced anti-submarine warfare exercises

The units also undertook cross deck landings by integral helicopters, showcasing a high level of interoperability between them.

Published: 04th April 2022 07:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2022 07:52 PM   |  A+A-

French navy Chief (3rd from L), Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on his left

French navy Chief (3rd from L), Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on his left along with other senior officers. (Photo | Indian Navy)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India-French defence ties are strengthening further with the navy-to-navy exercise involving the two nations Varuna having an expanded scope covering a broad spectrum of maritime operations this year.

The five-day exercise Varuna 22 culminated on Sunday with the final phase of the exercise focusing on advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercises.

The Indian Navy in a statement on Monday said, "The eventful tactical sea phase of the exercise laid primary focus on advanced anti-submarine warfare tactics, gunnery shoots, seamanship evolutions, tactical manoeuvres and extensive air operations."

The units also undertook cross deck landings by integral helicopters, showcasing a high level of interoperability between them. Gun firing and underway replenishment procedures were also exercised between ships.

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The ships and aircraft including INS Chennai with helicopters Sea King Mk 42B, maritime patrol aircraft P8i, French Navy frigate FS Courbet, support vessel FS Loire, and other units exercised on the full spectrum of ASW operations. The later part of the exercise also included the exchange of sea riders at sea.

The exercise "will bolster the ability to undertake joint operations in maritime theatre, when required. Varuna-2022 will go a long way in strengthening the strategic partnership between India and France," Indian Navy said.

A comprehensive debriefing of the exercise was conducted by the officers of the two sides. The second phase of the exercise is planned to be held in May month this year. Coincidentally, the French Navy Chief Admiral Pierre Vandier was in India when the exercise started.

"All evolutions conducted at sea were discussed with options for possible inclusions in the future editions of the exercise," a source said.

All operational objectives of the exercise were accomplished by the participants in full measure, the Navy added.

In a sign of strengthening ties, Varuna, which is an annual bilateral exercise, was conducted even in 2021 despite the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.

France and India share strategic ties with India procuring 36 Rafale fighters and manufacturing Scorpene Class submarines along with Mazgaon Dockyard Limited in India.



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