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India and France Conduct Final Phase of Varuna Naval Exercise Near Reunion Island:

Avala Gnaneswar writes, both France and India decided to strengthen the coordination between the regional and international bodies which leads to the transparent and comprehensive structure in cooperation. France boosted the participation at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and France congratulated India’s leadership at IORA.

The Indian and French Navies started conducting the joint bilateral exercises since 1983 and 2001 they are called as Varuna. The ambassador to India Alexander Ziegler said this exercise illustrates the strong interest of France and India share concerning maritime security issues in this region. A strong symbol of the Indo-French strategic partnership, the Varuna exercise is part of long-term bilateral cooperation with India illustrated by the regular port visits of French ships in India and recently reinforced by the document on the joint strategic vision of India-France cooperation in the Indian ocean region signed during the state visit of President Emmanuel Macron on 10th of March.
The Indian and French navies conducted third and last phase of the 2018 Varuna naval exercise from 1st to 7th of May in the surrounding of Reunion Island. The first phase of the exercise was held in Arabian sea and it involved Joint Anti-submarine combat training of the Indian coast in Goa with the participation of both the French nuclear submarine and the Indian Kalvari Scorpene any class submarine while, the second phase was held off the Chennai coast in the Bay of Bengal it being focused on amphibious operations of China’s coast, the participants were Indian Navy’s destroyer, INS Mumbai, INS Trikand and Indian Navy ‘s submarine, Kalvari, P8-1 and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft and MIG-29K fighter aircraft.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and France President Emmanuel Macron expressed their satisfaction of the working of the bilateral Maritime Dialogue established in 2015. They signed the agreement related to the provision of the Reciprocal logistics support, which helps to enhance their cooperation between two navies. Both France and India decided to strengthen the coordination between the regional and international bodies which leads to the transparent and comprehensive structure in cooperation. France boosted the participation at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and France congratulated India’s leadership at IORA. France also supported India’s entry in Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). Both the countries shared concerns regarding the emerging challenges in the Indian Ocean Region which include Maritime security in the level of the threats like terrorism and privacy. They mainly concentrated in the Horn of Africa region. The two leaders agreed to the joint strategic vision for cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. France and India committed to raising the level of information exchange to 011 the maritime situation in the Indian Ocean. The leaders welcomed the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Indian Space Research Organization ( ISRO) and the Centre National d’etudes Spatial of France. Its main aim to develop the maritime surveillance satellite system focused on the Indian Ocean Region and related data combination mechanisms. The two leaders are very desirable of associating other partners in the growing strategic cooperation between India and France, they are ready to establish trilateral dialogues when it requires.1
1 Joint strategic vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (New Delhi, 10 March 2018) India and France conduct final phase of Varuna naval exercise near Reunion Island (May 3, 2018)

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