‘Varuna-2021’ naval exercise between India, France concludes

The ‘VARUNA’ exercise has been a key enabler in building interoperability and strengthening the coordination between the two navies

The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘Varuna-2021’ concluded on Tuesday. The three-day bilateral exercise had begun on April 25 in the Arabian Sea, according to a statement.

The exercise witnessed high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defense and anti-submarine exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations including cross deck helicopter landings, tactical maneuvers, surface, and anti-air weapon firings, underway replenishment, and other maritime security operations. From the Indian Navy’s side, guided-missile stealth destroyer INS Kolkata, guided-missile frigates INS Tarkash and INS Talwar, Fleet Support Ship INS Deepak, with Seeking 42B and Chetak integral helicopters, a Kalvari class submarine, and P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft participated in the exercise.

The French Navy was represented by the aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle with Rafale-M fighter, E2C Hawkeye aircraft, and helicopters Caiman M and Dauphin embarked Horizon-class air defense destroyer Chevalier Paul, Aquitaine-class multi-mission frigate FNS Provence with a Caiman M helicopter embarked and command and supply ship Var.

Units of the Indian and French navies honed and enhanced their war-fighting skills to demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security, and stability in the maritime domain.

The ‘VARUNA’ exercise has been a key enabler in building interoperability and strengthening the coordination between the two navies. This exercise has matured over the years with an increase in scope, the complexity of operations, and level of participation, as per the statement.

The entire planning was carried out through virtual meetings and the exercises were conducted completely in the non-contact format.

The seamless coordination, precise execution of maneuvers, and accuracy in complex exercises characterized the conduct of VARUNA-2021 and has helped further strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability, and sharing of best practices between both navies.

The statement further said that the Indian Navy’s guided-missile frigate Tarkash will continue to exercise with the French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from April 28 to May 1, participating in advanced surface, anti-submarine, and air-defense operations. 

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