Indo-French naval exercise Varuna commences in Goa

The 14th edition of Indo-French naval exercise Varuna began with the arrival of four French naval ships in Goa today.
Representing the French Navy in the exercise are aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne, replenishment tanker Meuse and a maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique 2. 
Charles de Gaulle is carrying its complement of fighter aircraft Rafale M, Strike Aircraft Super Etendard, E2C Hawkeye AWACS and helicopters Dauphin and Alouette 3. 
Aircraft carrier INS Viraat, destroyer Mumbai, stealth frigate Tarkash, guided missile frigate Gomati, replenishment tanker Deepak, submarine Shankul and a few fast attack craft are participating from the Indian side. 
Aviation assets of the Indian Navy participating in Varuna this year include carrier-borne fighter aircraft Sea Harriers, maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8 I and Dorniers along with integral helicopters Seaking 42B and Chetak. 
An official press release said the scope of the exercise included the entire gamut of maritime operations from aircraft carrier operations, anti-submarine warfare exercises, maritime interdiction operations to multi-ship replenishment exercise. 
The release said regular interaction between the Indian and French navies over the years had allowed both of them to gradually and systematically increase the complexity and professional content of the joint exercises. 
"Varuna aims at deriving mutual benefit from the experiences of the two navies. The confidence gained through such exercises helps develop Standard Operating Procedures, particularly in the fields of Joint Maritime Air Operations Planning with exchange of Carrier Operational Capabilities. The other joint exercises include Coordinated Anti-Submarine Exercises, Surface Exercises, Cross Deck Flying, Damage Control and Fire Fighting, Air Defence, Firing Drills, Air to Sea Firing, Tactical Exercises and Visit Board Search and Seize Operations, which further hone the fighting efficiency of the two combat forces," the release said.
Varuna-15 is scheduled to continue upto May 2 off Goa. The two countries have been conducted naval exercises since 1983 and, following the establishment of a strategic partnership between them, they were christened as Varuna in 2001.
The last exercise Varuna-12 was conducted in the Mediterranean Sea from July 19-22, 2012 off Toulon, the release added.

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