Panaji: The sea phase of the Indo-France bilateral naval exercise, Varuna 2022, was conducted in the Arabian sea, off the coast of Goa, on Sunday.

As per an official statement, the first phase of the exercise, which was planned in two phases, will be concluded on Sunday while the second phase will be held in May 2022.

The exercise this year has an expanded scope and includes surface gun firings on practice targets, advanced anti-submarine and air defence exercises, and other tactical manoeuvres that cover a broad spectrum of maritime operations.

Having grown in content and complexity since its inception in 1993, the exercise provides the two navies with an opportunity to learn from each other's best practices. It focuses on operational level interaction between them to enhance mutual cooperation at sea, underscoring their shared commitment to regional security.

During the current phase, the Indian Navy is being represented by an indigenously built stealth destroyer, INS Chennai, with integral Sea King MK-42B helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft P8I and Dornier, and the MiG-29 fighter aircraft. The French Navy is being represented by the La Fayette class frigate, FS Courbet & submarine support vessel, FS Loire.

The units undertook cross deck landings by integral helicopters, showcasing a high level of interoperability between them. Gun firing and underway replenishment procedures were also exercised between ships.

All exercises planned during Varuna 2022 aim to enhance the common understanding of the two navies on the conduct of joint maritime security operations.