15 June : For the last 7 years, India and France have continually strengthened their bilateral naval relation as a part of which we have conducted an annual bilateral exercise, called VARUNA. This exercise aims at enhancing interoperability between the two navies, with an ever increasing complexity. This year, for the first time VARUNA will occur outside Indian waters, off the coasts of Brittany from 27 June to 04 July as a part of the Indian Task Force’s deployment to Europe from May to Jul 2009.
The exercise will involve many assets from the two nations: on the Indian side, the Task Force will comprise the destroyer Delhi, the frigates Brahmaputra and Beas, and the replenishment ship Aditya and their integral helicopters. The French contribution will consist of assets placed under CECLANT’s command (the Admiral Commanding Atlantic Ocean Zone), notably the destroyer Primauguet with a helicopter, the frigate Lieutenant de Vaisseau Le Hanaff, the nuclear powered attack submarine Emeraude. Several French aircraft will also take part in the exercise, including maritime patrol aircraft and navy’s fighters.
The naval partnership between the two nations is based on a comprehensive defence agreement signed by the Indian Prime Minister and the French President in 2006. India and France both desire to strengthen their naval cooperation which has already proven to be solid and is not restricted to VARUNA series alone, as is evident from ongoing activities in the Indian Ocean, where navies of both sides are coordinating their efforts towards the suppression of piracy off Somalia