Indo-French naval exercise Varuna kicks off

The Indian and the French navies have launched Varuna 2018, a joint naval exercise, in Goa, India.

The first phase of the naval exercise is scheduled to be completed on March 24.

In 2018, the exercise will be conducted in three sea areas – the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the South-West Indian Ocean. The remaining two phases will be carried out off Chennai and La Reunion Island in April and May this year, respectively.

On March 15, French Navy frigate FS Jean de Vienne and nuclear attack submarine FS La Perle arrived in Goa to participate in the first phase of the exercise.

In addition, the Indian Navy’s destroyer Mumbai, frigate Trikand with their integral helicopters, submarine Kalvari, P8-1 and Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, as well as MiG 29K fighter aircraft, will take part in the exercise.

The two navies have been conducting bilateral maritime exercises since May 1993. Since 2001, the exercises have been named Varuna. The last edition of Varuna was conducted off the French coast in April 2017.

“The Varuna series of exercises have grown in scope and complexity over the years and provide an opportunity to both navies to increase interoperability and learn from each other’s best practices,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.