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First pictures: Indian destroyers, French warships take part in exercise Varuna off Goa

At least six French navy ships are participating in the exercise, including 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.

India-France Varuna bilateral exercise

France on Friday welcomed the two-part Varuna bilateral exercise with India, calling it a "swift development" of bilateral relations in the maritime security.

The level of operations intensified on the second day of Sea Phase with the participation of an increased number of fighter aircrafts, helicopters and coordinated exercises between the ships.

Aircraft submarine cooperation and air defence exercises were the focus of the excercise. 

Air Defence exercises between the Task group Delhi and Paris progressed with a larger number of fighters participating from both sides. 

To enhance the complexity of Air Defence, control of fighters were handed over to the Destroyers of each group by the respective aircraft carriers. 

Whilst the airborne units were engaged in combat, the fleet support ships of both the groups undertook token fueling during underway replenishment to evaluate the nuances of both the navies in a coordinated support role.

The day ended with a combined coordinated gunnery firing exercise.

(Image courtesy: Indian Navy Twitter handle)

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Historic strategic partnership

"Varuna is a decades-long exercise illustrative of our historic and strategic partnership...France is an all-weather, unconditional and predictable partner, and with India, our naval cooperation has been exemplary...It is an integral and key part of our bilateral strategic partnership since 1998," Indian Navy's official statement outlined.

(Image courtesy: Indian Navy Twitter handle)

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Varuna 19.2 to take place near Djibouti

The first phase of the exercise, namely Varuna 19.1, began off Goa's coast on May 1st and is scheduled to culminate on May 10th.

Varuna 19.2, on the other hand, is slated to be held in May-end near Djibouti.

(Image courtesy: Indian Navy Twitter handle)

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Varuna initiated in 1983

A statement issued by the embassy of France in New Delhi outlined that the exercise -- which was initiated in 1983 -- implements two key documents which were adopted during French President Emmanuel Macron's state visit to India last year: the Joint Strategic Vision of India- France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region and the Reciprocal Logistics Support Agreement between the armed forces of the two countries.

(Image courtesy: Indian Navy Twitter handle)

(Photograph:Others)

Six French navy ships participating

At least six French navy ships are participating in the exercise, including 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.

Around 3,000 French sailors are on board for this two-part maritime exercise.

(Image courtesy: Indian Navy Twitter handle)

(Photograph:Others)

The Indian contingent

From the Indian side, 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, will be participating in the joint exercise, it added.

The carrier has been equipped with the modern naval and military equipment, including for submarine and cyber warfare while the battle aircraft are now Rafale-only.

Twenty jets are already onboard.

It speaks volumes about the strategic importance France attaches to the Indian Ocean region and its partnership with India, the statement further said.

(Image courtesy: Indian Navy Twitter handle)

(Photograph:Others)

Multi-domain exercise

The harbour phase at Goa includes cross-visits, professional interactions and discussions, and sports events.

The sea phase comprises various exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations.

It will be a multi-domain exercise; sea, air and undersea involvement of the newly modernised Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier and its battle group, the statement highlighted.

(Image courtesy: Indian Navy Twitter handle)

(Photograph:Others)