INS Tabar taking part in the naval exercise with FNS Aquitaine on July 15

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Tabar, the Navy’s Russian-built Talwar class frigate, has just concluded a two-day naval exercise with the French Navy in the in the Bay of Biscay on July 15 and 16. Labelled “Maritime Partnership Exercise”, the Indo-French naval drill came after INS Tabar successfully completed a port visit to Brest, the port city in Brittany, north-western France.

Taking part in the Maritime Partnership Exercise along with INS Tabar was the French Navy’s frigate FNS Aquitaine. Also taking part in the exercise, besides a twin engine helicopter (NH 90) from the FNS Aquitaine, were four Rafale multirole medium combat aircraft from the French Navy. The Indian Air Force is in the process of acquiring 36 Rafale fighters.

A spokesperson for the Indian Navy disclosed that a wide range of operations, including anti-submarine surface manoeuvres, replenishment at sea approach, firing on target, visit board search & seizure (VBSS), air defence, air picture compilation, vertical replenishment and cross-deck operations, were jointly carried out by the two warships. The exercise culminated with a “Steam Past” by the two ships as per naval customs.

Said the spokesperson: “The exercise was mutually beneficial in enhancing interoperability and towards consolidating combined operations against maritime threats and furthering the strengthening of maritime security in the region.” He added that the aim of the exercise was “to build military relations, develop interoperability and project long range sustenance”.

The Indo-French naval exercise was part of the ongoing deployment of INS Tabar in the Mediterranean. Prior to the interaction with the French Navy, the Indian frigate had taken part in an exercise (July 4-5) with the Italian Navy in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Participating along with INS Tabar in the military exercises was the Italian Navy’s front-line frigate the ITS Antonio Marceglia (F 597).

INS Tabar, which has been deployed towards enhancing military cooperation with friendly nations in Europe and Africa, commenced her prolonged deployment on June 13. During the frigate’s present deployment, INS Tabar will transit across the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea while making port calls at Djibouti, Alexandria, Naples, Brest, United Kingdom, Russia, the Netherlands, Morocco and Arctic Council countries such as Sweden and Norway.

In addition to “Passage Exercises” (PASSEX) with host navies of countries being visited, INS Tabar is also scheduled to participate in bilateral exercises including Exercise Konkan with the Royal Navy, Exercise Varuna with the French Navy and Exercise Indra with the Russian Federation Navy. The frigate’s present deployment will be completed at the end of September. The spokesperson said that “the vessel during port visits will continue to conduct professional, social and sporting interactions with fellow friendly navies”. INS Tabar will participate in the Russian Navy Day celebrations from July 22 to 27.

INS Tabar has a complement of 300 personnel and is equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors. Part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet headquarted in Mumbai, the ship is under the Western Naval Command. INS Tabar is commanded by Captain Mahesh Mangipudi (IN).