Exercise VARUNA – 2021
The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’ concluded on 27 April 2021.
Exercise VARUNA has been a key enabler in building interoperability and strengthening the coordination between the two navies. This exercise has matured over the years with increase in scope, complexity of operations and level of participation. Conducted from 25-27 April 2021 in the Arabian Sea, the exercise witnessed high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations, tactical manoeuvres, surface and anti-air weapon firings, underway replenishment and other maritime security operations. Units of both navies honed and enhanced their war-fighting skills to demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain.
The Indian Navy’s participation in the 21st Edition of the exercise was led by Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, Nau Sena Medal, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet and included guided missile stealth destroyer Kolkata, guided missile frigates Tarkash and Talwar, Fleet Support Ship Deepak, Seaking 42B and Chetak integral helicopters, a Kalvari class submarine and P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The French side, led by Rear Admiral Marc Aussedat, Commander Task Force 473, was represented by the Aircraft Carrier Charles-de-Gaulle with Rafale-M fighter, E2C Hawkeye aircrafts and helicopters Caïman M and Dauphin embarked, Horizon-class Air defense destroyer Chevalier Paul, Aquitaine-class multi-missions frigate FNS Provence with a Caïman M helicopter embarked and Command and supply ship Var.
Exercise VARUNA-21, being conducted despite the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has helped further strengthen mutual confidence, inter-operability and sharing of best practices between both Navies.
Indian Navy’s guided missile frigate Tarkash will continue to exercise with the French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from 28 April to 1 May 2021 participating in advanced surface, anti-submarine and air-defence operations with the French CSG.