The French and Indian navies have commenced the 20th edition of bilateral naval exercise, Varuna 2022, in the Arabian Sea.

The five-day naval exercise began on 30 March, off the coast of Goa, and will run until 3 April 2022.

The exercise is witnessing the participation of French and Indian Navy’s various units, including submarines, helicopters, maritime patrol aircrafts, fighter aircrafts and ships.

During the exercise, the units of both the navies will work to sharpen their operational skills in the maritime theatre, bolster their inter-operability to carry out maritime security operations and show their commitment as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the region.

This annual naval exercise between the two navies began in 1993. It was named as ‘Varuna’ in 2001.

The Varuna series of exercises have expanded in scope and complexity over the years, and offer opportunities to the two navies to learn from each other’s best practices.

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The Indian Ministry of Defence stated: “The exercise has been a principal driver for operational level interactions between the two navies and has underscored the shared commitment of both nations to security, safety and freedom of the global maritime commons.”

The maritime exercise plays an important role in establishing strategic relationship between India and France.

Varuna has also driven various operational level discussions between both the navies.

This exercise comes close on the heels of the first edition of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Maritime Exercise 2022 (IMEX-22) that concluded on 30 March.

The five-day IMEX-22 was conducted off Goa’s coast and had seen participation from 15 countries including France, out of the total 25 IONS members.