Indo-French naval exercise to help anti-piracy operations
Vasco (Goa): Indo-French naval exercise `Varuna` entered its second day Saturday, even as both Indian and French navies said the joint exercise could help combat global anti-piracy effectively.
"The exercises include the entire gamut of maritime operations ranging from aircraft carrier operations, anti-submarine warfare exercises and maritime interdiction operations exercises," Rear Admiral Jean Louis Kerignard, commander of French Maritime Force, told reporters at a press conference on board India`s only aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat.
"Such exercises really help during joint anti-piracy operations or humanitarian missions," he added.
The naval exercises which commenced Friday and will last till Jan 14, are being conducted off the coast of Goa, with aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, submarines and tankers from both the navies participating. A total of 300 officers and nearly 1,500 sailors are engaged in the exercise.
The French navy`s aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is also participating in the exercise, along with the newly-inducted destroyer FNS Forbin.
"This is FNS Forbin`s first deployment. It has just been inducted," Kerignard said.
He further said that the French contingent also contained its early early warning aircraft, and other ships like FNS Tourville, supply ship FNS Meuse and a nuclear powered submarine FNS Amethyste.
For India, Viraat, frigates Godavari and Ganga and a Shishumar class submarine Shalki are participating, said Rear Admiral R.K. Patnaik, the flag officer commanding of India`s western fleet.
"The Indian and the French Navy have been conducting such bilateral exercises since May 1993. Such exercises are in the long-term interest of both nations," he added.
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