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The Indian and French Navies, steeped in rich maritime traditions and strategic cooperation, recently concluded the Phase II of the 21st edition of the Varuna naval exercise, Varuna-23. Held in the Arabian Sea, this exercise exemplifies the commitment of both nations to enhance their warfighting capabilities, improve interoperability, and promote peace, security, and stability in the region.

Varuna-23: A Joint Endeavor

The Varuna-23 exercise spanned three days and saw the active participation of guided missile frigates, a tanker, Maritime Patrol Aircraft, and integral helicopters from both the Indian and French Navies. This robust collaboration showcased joint operations, underway replenishment, and various tactical maneuvers designed to sharpen the skills of both navies. It is through exercises like Varuna-23 that these naval forces hone their capabilities to respond effectively to regional and global security challenges.

A Legacy of Cooperation: Varuna’s History

The roots of the Varuna naval exercise trace back to 1993 when Indian and French naval forces initiated their bilateral engagement. Over the years, this exercise has evolved significantly, earning the moniker ‘Varuna’ in 2001. Today, Varuna stands as a testament to the enduring India-France strategic relationship.

Varuna has grown both in scope and complexity since its inception. It provides a vital platform for both nations to learn from each other’s best practices and procedures. This sharing of knowledge and experience is invaluable, fostering mutual cooperation for good order at sea.

Naval Resource Display in Varuna-23 Exercise

The Varuna-23 exercise showcases a remarkable assembly of naval resources contributed by both the Indian and French Navies:

Component Indian Navy’s Participation French Navy’s Contribution
Naval Assets Diverse Indian and French naval assets A wide range of Indian and French naval assets
Indian Navy – INS Chennai: Indigenous guided missile stealth destroyer – Charles De Gaulle: Formidable aircraft carrier
Participation – INS Teg: Guided missile frigate – FS Forbin: Distinguished frigate
– P-8I maritime patrol aircraft – FS Provence: Distinguished frigate
– Dornier aircraft – FS Marne: Support vessel
– Integral helicopters – Atlantique: Maritime patrol aircraft
– MiG29K fighter aircraft

Promoting Security and Freedom

Exercise Varuna underscores the shared commitment of India and France to security, safety, and freedom in the global maritime commons. By conducting this exercise, both nations send a clear message that they are dedicated to upholding international norms and contributing to the stability of the oceans. The exercise promotes good order at sea, fostering mutual cooperation that benefits not only India and France but also the broader international community.

Varuna-23: A Beacon of India-France Naval Cooperation for Global Maritime Security

The Varuna-23 bilateral naval exercise serves as a shining example of the deep-rooted and ever-strengthening ties between the Indian and French Navies. As both nations continue to collaborate and engage in such exercises, they not only enhance their own capabilities but also contribute to the collective security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region and the world. Varuna-23 stands as a testament to the commitment of India and France in promoting peace, security, and freedom of navigation in the maritime domain, exemplifying the true spirit of their strategic partnership.

The First phase of the ‘Varuna-2023,’ occurred along the Western Seaboard of India from January 16 to 20, 2023, laying the foundation for this bilateral interaction in the Arabian Sea.

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