Beginning Today, Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya To Lead India In The Biggest-Ever Indo-French Naval Exercise
Beginning Today, Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya To Lead India In The Biggest-Ever Indo-French Naval ExerciseINS Mumbai entering Reunion Islands in the Indian Ocean. (Website/Indian Navy)

For the first time in the history of joint sea drills between the Indian and French navies, aircraft carries of both the navies will lead their respective countries in the biggest ever Indo-French naval exercise Varuna 2019, reports Hindustan Times (HT).

While INS Vikramaditya will lead the Indian contingent, the French side will be helmed by FNS Charles de Gaulle. The first phase of the exercise begins today (7 May).

“The sea phase will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will be held off Goa from May 7 to May 10 (2019) and would include anti-submarine exercises, live firing drills, naval helicopter operations, and basic to advanced level exercises for carrier-borne fighter aircraft. A second sea phase will take place off Djibouti later in the month,” said Rear Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh.

Singh will command the Indian fleet in the exercise in which a total of eight ships and two submarines will participate.

Since its inception in 2001, the annual Varuna naval exercise has morphed into one of the most enduring symbols of France–India strategic relationship in the twenty-first century.

“Varuna is stepping up in scope and complexity this year to the highest interoperability level as operations will be conducted in all three dimensions: below, on and above the sea,” noted Rear-Admiral Oliver Lebas Commander of the Carrier Strike Group.

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