India And France To Hold Their Largest Naval Exercise ‘VARUNA’ Powered By Aircraft Carriers, Jets and Destroyers

India And France To Hold Their Largest Naval Exercise ‘VARUNA’ Powered By Aircraft Carriers, Jets and DestroyersIndian Navy’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Elevating their military ties, India and France are all set to hold their largest ever naval exercise earlier next month (May 2019), reports Times of India.

The said exercise is expected to involve aircraft carriers, destroyer ships, submarines and also fighter planes, thus making it a mega event to happen in the history of relationship between the two nations.

The conduct of Varuna exercise, and the special impetus on taking this Navy-to-Navy cooperative engagement forward, was reiterated in the Joint Statement made by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, on the 10th of March 2018.

The two countries will be deploying their aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and FNS Charles de gaulle with their Mig-29K and Rafale-M naval fighter jets. The exercise has been christened 'Varuna' and will take place off Goa and Karwar from 1 May 2019.

The Indian participation will also include the destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate INS Trikand with their integral helicopters, IN submarine Kalvari, P8-I aircrafts and Dornier Maritime Patrol aircraft.

This comes after the successful operationalisation of the logistics support agreement between India and France under which Indian warships can access the French bases like Reunion Islands and in Djibouti.

Under the same pact, French anti-aircraft destroyer FNS Cassard had docked at the Mumbai naval port in January 2019. This was second such logistics support agreement signed by India after the one signed by it with United States (US) in 2016.