The first part of the Indo-French joint naval exercise, Varuna 19.1 is being held off the Goa coast from 1 to 10 May 2019. The exercise will see the participation of the French Navy's aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers, FNS Forbin and FNS Provence, the frigate FNS Latouche-Treville, the tanker FNS Marne and a nuclear submarine. From the Indian side, the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, destroyer INS Mumbai, the Teg-class frigate, INS Tarkash, the Shishumar- class submarine, INS Shankul, and the Deepak- class fleet tanker, INS Deepak, are taking part in the exercise.
The exercise is being conducted in two phases. The harbour phase at Goa would include cross-visits, professional interactions and discussions and sports events. The sea phase would comprise various exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations.
Varuna 19.2, the second part of the exercise, is scheduled to be held in May end in Djibouti.
The bilateral naval exercise which was started in 1983 and christened as ‘Varuna’ in 2001, form a vital part of the Indo-French strategic partnership. Having grown in scope and complexity over the years, this exercise exemplifies the strong relations between the two nations. It aims at developing interoperability between the two navies and fostering mutual cooperation by learning from each other’s best practices to conduct joint operations. It also underscores the shared interests and commitment of both nations in promoting maritime security.
The exercise is in line with the Joint Strategic Vision of India-French Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region signed by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the former's visit to India in March 2018.