Djibouti: India and France held a mega naval exercise in strategically-located Djibouti in the ‘Horn of Africa’, in a demonstration of a high level of interoperability and deepening cooperation between the two navies. While the first phase of the Varuna exercise took place off the coast of Goa, the second leg was held in Djibouti where China set up its first overseas military base nearly two years ago.
“The second phase of the Indo-French naval exercise, christened as Varuna 19.2, which was held from May 22nd to 25th, brought together a French nuclear attack submarine, currently deployed in the Indian Ocean, and an Indian submarine,” the French embassy said in a statement.
“Organised under the operational control of the French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN), this exercise was an opportunity to reinforce our capabilities for joint action in a critical and strategic field while demonstrating the high level of interoperability achieved,” it added.
The naval exercise between India and France, initiated in 1983 and named Varuna in 2001, forms a vital part of the Indo-French strategic partnership.
French Navy’s aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers, FNS Forbin and FNS Provence, frigate FNS Latouche-Treville had also participated in the Varuna exercise.
“India and France have been strategic partners for more than 20 years. This partnership is the subject of recurrent dialogues and regular bilateral military exercises,” the French embassy said.
The harbour phase of the exercise at Goa included professional interactions and discussions while the sea phase in Djibouti comprised various drills across the spectrum of maritime operations.