Kochi: Rear Admiral Jacques Fayard, French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean on March 31 said that April would witness the Indo-France bilateral ‘Varuna Naval Exercise’.

“We are part of the Indian Ocean and we're there in the Indian Ocean Region to balance the power in order to be sure that all international laws of the sea, freedom of navigation, multi-nationalism are well respected in this strategic area,” he said during his two-day visit to Kochi.

“India-France relations in naval area enhanced. We're preparing for 'Varuna Exercise', a high-level interoperability exercise. For us, it's important to be able to participate with Indian Navy in the global security of this strategic region,” he added.

Indian Navy News

A French naval delegation headed by Rear Admiral Jacques Fayard, French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN) called on Vice Admiral Hari Kumar, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command at Mumbai on 29 March 2021. During the interaction, growing cooperation between both the navies on maritime issues and enhanced interoperability for focused maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region were discussed. The present interaction is significant as the the annual bilateral exercise 'Varuna' is scheduled to be held between Indian Navy and French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group during April 2021.

During the recent past, there has been enhanced bilateral cooperation between India and France, especially in the domain of maritime security. Interactions between India and France have evolved into a strong partnership based on mutual aspirations. The regular conduct of bilateral exercises, goodwill visits by ships and high level delegation visits involving both the navies are indicative of growth in mutual cooperation and jointmanship.

Visit of French Naval Vessels To India

The French Navy's amphibious assault helicopter carrier Tonnerre and frigate Surcouf arrived in Kochi on Tuesday ahead of a mega naval war game involving France and four member nations of the Quad grouping, officials said. The French ships are on a two-day goodwill visit to Kochi, in reflection of deeper military ties between the two navies, they said. The ships will be sailing to the Bay of Bengal on Thursday to participate in the France-led 'La Perouse' naval war game from April 5-7.