The sea phase of the Indo-French naval exercise ‘Varuna’ began on Wednesday with ships from the European country sailing out of the Goa harbour to participate in it, the Indian Navy said.
This year’s edition of the Indo-French naval exercise currently underway off the Goa coast is the largest ever undertaken by the two navies and represents the climax of the strengthened maritime co-operation between India and France, a senior official earlier said.
In a released here on Wednesday, the Navy said after a fruitful harbour phase at Mormugao Port Trust in Goa, the visiting French naval ships sailed out of the coastal state to begin the sea phase of ‘Varuna 2019’.
The exercise, which began on May 1, will culminate on May 10 after sea phase operations involving ships and men-in- uniform of both the navies.
French Aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, FN ships Provence, LaTouche Treville, Forbin and tanker Marne along with an FN submarine will take part in the exercise with the Indian Navy, the release said.
“Indian naval ships Chennai, Mumbai, Tarkash, tanker INS Deepak and a submarine took to sea where the two navies will conduct extensive evolutions to further inter-operability and professional skills towards better maritime cooperation,” the release said.
“Air-to-air combat, air defence, anti-submarine exercises and surface shoots were some of the activities conducted on Wednesday,” it added.
The first bilateral naval exercise between India and France was held in 1983 and it was named ‘Varuna’ in 2001.