India and France will conduct their largest ever naval exercise ‘Varuna’ off Goa coast early May.
- India will deploy its aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya with its MiG-29K fighters and French side would be represented by its aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle with its Rafale-M naval jets.
- The exercise will also see participation of FNS Forbin, the FNS Provence and the FNS Latouche Treville, a nuclear attack submarines, the FNS Amethyste, and the tanker FNS Marne from France and diesel-electric submarine INS Shankul, guided-missile destroyer INS Chennai, stealth frigate INS Tarkash and tanker INS Deepak, along with P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft and Dornier-228 planes from India.
- Varuna is a top-level naval exercise, with intensive dual carrier task group operations and anti-submarine warfare manoeuvres.
India-France Defence Cooperation
India and France are working closely to implement their action-oriented joint strategic vision for cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), which was finalised in March 2018.
The Military Logistics Agreement with France which provides Indian Navy access to French bases located in the India ocean region including the Reunion Islands near Madagascar and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and French navy access to Indian ports in the region is now operationalised with French anti-aircraft destroyer FNS Cassard docking at the Mumbai naval port.