Phase II of the 21st edition of Varuna (Varuna-23), the bilateral exercise between the Indian and French Navies, was successfully conducted in the Arabian Sea. This exercise saw the participation of guided missile frigates, a tanker, Maritime Patrol Aircraft, and integral helicopters from both sides. Over three days, the exercise involved joint operations, underway replenishment, and various tactical maneuvers. The units from both navies focused on refining their warfighting skills, enhancing interoperability, and demonstrating their collective ability to uphold peace, security, and stability in the region. The first phase of ‘Varuna-2023’ took place off India’s Western Seaboard from 16 to 20 January 2023.
The bilateral naval exercise between the Indian and French Navies was initiated in 1993. It was officially named ‘Varuna’ in 2001 and has since become a cornerstone of the robust India-France strategic bilateral relationship. Evolving in both scope and complexity over the years, this exercise offers a valuable platform for learning and exchanging best practices and procedures. Moreover, it promotes operational-level interaction between the two Navies, fostering mutual cooperation to ensure maritime security and order at sea, highlighting the shared commitment between the nations.