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21st Edition of Bilateral Naval Exercise Varuna between India & France.

| 2023

According to information published by the Indian gov on January 16, 2023, the 21st Edition of the Bilateral Naval Exercise between India and France – Exercise Varuna commenced on the Western Seaboard.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Indian Kolkata-class stealth guided missile destroyer INS Chennai. (Picture source: French Navy)

While the bilateral exercise between the two navies were initiated in 1993, it was christened as ‘VARUNA’ in 2001 and has become a hallmark of India – France strategic bilateral relationship.

This edition will witness participation of indigenous guided missile stealth destroyer INS Chennai, guided missile frigate INS Teg, maritime patrol aircraft P-8I and Dornier, integral helicopters, and MiG29K fighter aircraft.

The French Navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, frigates FS Forbin and Provence, support vessel FS Marne and maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique.

The exercise will be conducted over five days from 16 to 20 January 2023 and will witness advanced air defence exercises, tactical manoeuvres, surface firings, underway replenishment, and other maritime operations.

Units of both navies will endeavour to hone their war-fighting skills in maritime theatre, enhance their inter-operability to undertake multi-discipline operations in the maritime domain, and demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security, and stability in the region.

France and India have a long-standing military relationship, which has grown stronger in recent years. The two countries have cooperated on a variety of defense-related issues, including joint military exercises, arms sales, and counter-terrorism operations.

France has been one of India's major defense partners for several decades, and the two countries have conducted several joint military exercises in the past, such as "Shakti" joint army exercise, and "Garuda" air force exercise.

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