April 29, 2021 (Google Translation) – From 25 to 27 April, a large-scale bilateral exercise between the French and Indian navies, called VARUNA 21, was held in the Arabian Sea. This new edition was an opportunity to increase the interoperability of the two navies at a time when France and India, nations bordering the Indian Ocean, intend to strengthen their cooperation especially in the Indo-Pacific zone.
Exercise VARUNA 21 was part of the CLEMENCEAU 21 mission, which deploys the Naval Air Group (GAN) to the Indian Ocean. It is therefore alongside the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its Onboard Air Group (GAé), the Air Defence Frigate (FDA) Chevalier Paul, the Multi-Mission Frigate Provence and the Command and Refueling Building (BCR) Var, that the destroyer INS Kolkata, the frigates INS Tarkash and INS Tabar and their helicopters, the INS Deepak tanker, the INS Khandari attack submarine and a P8 maritime patrol aircraft were able to train at an operational pace and increasing intensity.
The various exercises carried out by the means participating in VARUNA 21 have enabled the French and Indian navies to improve their level of interoperability by developing their mutual knowledge and sharing work habits. The exercises focused on both surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-aircraft warfare. This last part, particularly important, led French Rafale Marine to operate under the control ofinS Kolkata based on information gathered by the Indian P8 maritime patrol aircraft. Cross-landings and a refuelling exercise at sea also took place in this interoperability logic, as well as anti-submarine warfare exercises. Live fire at sea allowed the participating frigates to confirm their ability to process a target in a coordinated manner.
The CLEMENCEAU 21 mission includes a sequence in the Indian Ocean that contributes to the stabilization and protection of national interests in this area of strategic interest. The strengthening of regional cooperation testifies to the interoperability and high level of cooperation and trust between France and the coastal coastal partners.