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Naval Forces of France and India start military exercise Varuna-2021 in Arabian Sea.

| 2021

Naval Forces of India and France have started bilateral military exercise 'Varuna-2021' in the Arabian Sea on April 25, 2021, and which will end on April 27, 2021. During this exercise, France and India will conduct air defense and anti-submarine exercises, fixed and rotary wing flying operations, tactical maneuvers and surface and anti-air weapon firings.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French Navy Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. (Picture source French Navy)

This is the 19th edition of the naval bilateral exercise. During Varuna-2021, the Indian navy will deploy guided missile stealth destroyer INS Kolkata, guided missile frigates INS Tarkash and INS Talwar, fleet support ship INS Deepak, a Kalvari class submarine and the P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft.

The French Navy will take part at the naval exercise with its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, with embarked Rafale-M fighter jets and E2C Hawkeye aircraft, Horizon-class air defense destroyer Chevalier Paul, Aquitaine-class multi-mission frigate Provence and tanker Var.

In March 2021, NATO has announced that the French Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Charles de Gaulle was declared combat-ready following its participation in NATO exercise Dynamic Manta 21 off the Sicilian coast.

The French Navy Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group includes the Aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91) and its air wing, the multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Auvergne, the multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Provence, air defense frigate (FDA) Chevalier Paul, command and refueling vessel (BCR) Var, and one nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN).

The three-day exercise will see high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defense and anti-submarine exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations, tactical maneuvers, surface and anti-air weapon firings, underway replenishment and other maritime security operations. Units of both navies will endeavor to enhance and hone their war-fighting skills to demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain.

On completion of exercise VARUNA-21, to consolidate accrued best practices and enhance interoperability, the Indian Navy’s guided missile frigate INS Tarkash will continue to exercise with the French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from 28th April to 1st May 2021. During this period, the ship will take part in advanced surface, anti-submarine, and air-defense operations with the French CSG.

VARUNA-21 highlights growing bonhomie and showcases increased levels of synergy, coordination, and interoperability between the two friendly navies. These interactions further underscore the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.

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