Panaji: After a fruitful harbour phase here over the last six days, the visiting French naval ships conducted air-to-air combat exercise, air defence, anti-submarine and surface shoot exercises on day one of the sea phase of exercise — Varuna.
Earlier, the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, and French ships Provence, LaTouche Treville, Forbin and tanker Marne sailed out of Goa harbour to begin the sea phase of exercise with Indian units.
Indian naval ships INS Vikramaditya, destroyer INS Mumbai, INS Tarkash, the tanker INS Deepak and a submarine took to the sea where the two navies will conduct extensive evolutions to further inter-operability and professional skills towards better maritime cooperation, said an official statement.
The first phase of the Indo-French joint exercise began off Goa’s coast on May 1 and is scheduled to culminate on May 10. The second phase, on the other hand, is slated to be held in May-end near Djibouti.
The harbour phase at Goa includes cross-visits, professional interactions and discussions, and sports events. The sea phase comprises various exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations. It will be a multi-domain exercise; sea, air and undersea involvement of the newly modernized Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier and its battle group
The training which is to be held till May 10 will include anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations.
Varuna — the joint exercise of navies of India and France currently underway off the coast of Goa — is the largest ever joint exercise undertaken by the two navies yet. It also represents the pinnacle of the strengthened maritime co-operation between India and France.