The biggest ever 17th edition of the Ex-Varuna -19 between Indian Navy and the French Navy ended on May 11. Both Indian and French Carrier Task Forces executed close range manoeuvres in the presence of senior officers and diplomats from both countries. These senior officers and diplomats later visited French Carrier Task Force and were on the exercise carried out. This year the exercise was more focused on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training.
Now, both navies will move towards for the second phase off Djibouti coast near the Horn of Africa later this month, where the French have a big presence. India has been seeking a formal agreement to use the naval base for refits and repairs for its naval boats. And the government of Djibouti has cleared its requests. It is important to note that the Chinese already have a major presence and have a proper military base there.
The war games between the Indian and French Navies off Goa witnessed dogfights between the Indian Mig-29K fighters and French Rafale-M fighters which operated off their respective aircraft carriers.
This was followed by an impressive flypast consisting of four Rafale, five MiG 29-Ks and one Hawkeye in the presence FOC-IN-C WEST and the French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler and nine French Naval officers onboard the French Carrier Charles De Gaulle. Later in the day there was briefing between the planning staff of both Task Forces to review conduct of the exercise and identify areas for improvement.
And ended with the Indian Navy and French Navy helicopters carrying out extensive cross deck operations for personnel transfer.
Over time, these bilateral naval exercises have become more complex and are now in line with the Indo-French Joint Strategic Vision Cooperation within the Indian Ocean Region signed by two leaders of the two countries in 2018, when the French President Emmanuel Macron had visited India.