Saturday, March 21, 2015

Indo French Naval Exercise Varuna

Indo French Naval Exercise Varuna

Indian Navy Carrier Destroyer Group

India traditionally has enjoyed a close and friendly relationship with France. France was the first country with which India signed an agreement regarding the nuclear energy following the relaxation of sanctions which has enabled India to steam up its civil nuclear programs. The partnership and cooperation in the field of defense among the countries dates backs to the era of Carnatic wars. Notably Indian forces took part in the Bastille Day parade in 2009 for which the Prime Minister of India was the Guest of Honour.

 India and France have maintained a steady stream of bilateral exercises. This move has enabled both the forces to work simultaneously in the same theater against a threat in a more matured way. Indian and French ground forces have been involved in ‘Exercise Shakthi ‘which is hosted either by India or French on a yearly basis, ‘Exercise Garud’ has been helping the crucial Indian and French Air forces work in an effective manner. 

Indian Navy has played an important role in maintaining peace for India on the maritime front and has been of assistance to various neighboring countries when in distress be it a natural calamity or a socio-political situation. The French navy is one of the oldest naval forces and its roles have been defined as maintaining intelligence, protecting populations, preventing crises, intervening wherever necessary to re-establish peace, and dissuading any threats against vital French interests. Operating on the common are of threat the relationship between these forces have evolved overtime. To boost up operational readiness and to integrate the technological factors, nations have agreed on involving naval wing of the countries under ‘Excercise Varuna’ which has been staged either in the Indian Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea. The 14th Edition ‘Exercise Varuna ‘will be staged in Indian Ocean and is scheduled from April 23 to May 3.

The main aspects of the joint maritime exercise involves co-operation on major aspects which includes cross deck operations, under which CBG ( Carrier Battle Group ) would be put to work. The nuclear powered CATOBAR carrier ‘Charles De Gaulle’ from the French Navy will be the French fielded Air craft carrier and INS Viraat will be countering the French carrier.  The Naval air arm Rafale M, Super Etenrd, E 2C, Super Harriers, Seaking 42B and Chetak will conduct operations abroad both carriers. Due to design changes of both the Carriers the fighters won’t be making a cross deck landing but will be involved in giving assistance to the rotary wings which will conduct cross deck operations.

The Naval Air warfare will involve live combat and attack drills, Anti Submarine Warfare through aircraft's and Anti Shipping mission profiles. Another crucial mission would be the replenishing of ships at high seas, during these replenishment missions the ships will be replenished with fuel, fresh water, food items and most important logistics supplies. This increases the bilateral relationship which is more important in peacetime Patrolling over EEZ and International waters and also during International assisted Search and Reconnaissance Missions.

Anti Submarine warfare is also going to be drilled, earlier this year a French SSN suffered damage to its periscope when the submarine was involved in a regular practice which involved acquiring a periscope lock over an US Navy Aircraft Carrier. The French navy would be deploying a SSN for the Exercise and India will be deploying a SSK under the operation. The ASW operation is a rare opportunity to test the operational readiness and the level of effectiveness each force enjoys. 

The French navy will be deploying it’s nuclear powered aircraft carrier ‘Charles De Gaulle’ being closely guarded by the two destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne, the replenishment tanker Meuse and the maritime aircraft Atlantique-2 will be operating along side the Indian Navy. 
 INS Viraat will be closely guarded by the destroyer INS Mumbai and the frigate INS Tarkash, which have returned from the Yemen waters after a successful evacuation operation. INS Gomati, fleet replenishment tanker INS Deepak and  SSK INS Shankul will  form India's CBG.

India will also field its long range maritime recon aircraft the Boeing P8I which will be supplemented by the Dornier's.  

The Indian Navy Carrier Battle Group

French Navy Carrier Battle Group

French Nuclear Powered Carrier Charles De Gaulle
Editor Karthik Kakoor 

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