The navies of India and France have commenced the 21st Edition of bilateral Exercise Varuna 2023 in Arabian Sea.

This bilateral naval exercise between the two countries was first held in 1993.

In 2001, the exercise was named as ‘VARUNA’ and has become a symbol of the strategic relationship between the countries.

For the latest edition, the Indian Navy will be represented by INS Chennai, a Kolkata-class indigenous guided missile stealth destroyer; INS Teg, a Talwar-class guided missile frigate; maritime patrol aircraft P-8I and Dornier; integral helicopters; and fighter aircraft MiG-29K.

The French Navy will see participation of frigates FS Forbin and Provence, support vessel FS Marne, the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, and maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique.

The exercise is being undertaken for five days until 20 January 2023.

The two navies will undertake advanced air defence exercises, tactical manoeuvres, surface firings, underway replenishment and other maritime operations.

This exercise will enable units of both navies to sharpen their war-fighting skills in maritime theatre, boost their inter-operability to carry out multi-discipline operations in the maritime segment and showcase their ability as an integrated force that can promote security, peace, and stability in the region.

Over the years, Exercise Varuna has expanded in scope and complexity.

In April 2022, the French and Indian navies held the five-day 20th edition of bilateral naval exercise, Varuna 2022 in the Arabian Sea. It was held from 30 March to 3 April 2022.

In 2021, the two navies held the three-day 19th edition in the Arabian sea from 25 to 27 April.