Varuna 2019: Indo-French joint navy exercise concludes in Goa today

GOA : On Day 3 of the Indo-French naval exercise ‘Varuna’ which is currently underway in Goa, the Indian Navy posted on social media details of the exercise the two countries undertook.

There were ‘multi-helicopter operations with cross deck landings, Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBBS) operations and towing exercise between Indian and French navy ships, fighter aircraft operations in a high-intensity combat exercise including firing on Pigeon island off Goa’.

A tweet read: ‘Coordinated anti-submarine warfare exercise involving LRMRASW aircraft P8i, Seaking & Lynx helicopters in close support of the Indian Navy ships Mumbai, Chennai and French ship Latouche Treville through the night’.

The first bilateral naval exercise between India and France was held in 1983, and it was named ‘Varuna’ in 2001. The joint exercises are held either in the Indian Ocean or the Mediterranean sea aiming to improve coordination of the two navies on capabilities like cross-deck operations, replenishment-at-sea, minesweeping, anti-submarine warfare and information sharing.This is the 17th edition of the naval exercise between the two nations which began on May 1, it is said to be the largest ever exercise undertaken between the two navies and is representative of the strengthened maritime co-operation between India and France, a senior official was quoted as saying by PTI. The second phase of the Indo-French joint naval exercise is slated to be held near Djibouti towards the end of May.

After the harbour phase at Mormugao Port Trust in Goa, the visiting French naval ships sailed out of Goa Wednesday to begin the sea phase of ‘Varuna 2019’, a release by the Navy stated.

On the second day of the exercise Thursday, there was increased participation of fighter aircraft, helicopters and coordination exercises. The day started with submarine exercises with dedicated ‘maritime reconnaissance phase’ and ‘ship phase’. The day culminated with a combined coordinated gunnery firing exercise on the Banshee, an air-launched target, wherein the ships of both groups joined together to exhibit the might of their weaponry, ANI reported.

While on Day 1 of the sea phase of the naval exercise, the navies conducted ‘air-to-air combat, air defence, anti-submarine exercises and surface shoots’ said a statement released by the Indian Navy. It also listed the names of the naval ships participating in the joint exercise.

“Indian naval ships Chennai, Mumbai, Tarkash, tanker INS Deepak and a submarine took to sea where the two navies will conduct extensive evolutions to further inter-operability and professional skills towards better maritime cooperation,” the release said.