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Aero India 2023

French aircraft-carrier "Charles de Gaulle" heads for India

French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

NEW DELHI (PTI): French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, with about 12 Rafale jets on board, will arrive in India this week to take part in the 10-day naval exercise 'Varuna'.

The exercise, to be held off the Goa waters, will begin on April 23 and continue till May 3.

Defence sources said the French will also bring in two destroyers and one support ship, part of the Charles de Gaulle task force.

India will also deploy its aircraft carrier INS Viraat along with other ships and aircraft.

The annually-held Varuna naval exercise is an integral part of France-India strategic relationship and consists of naval cooperation drills between the French and the Indian Navy.

This year's exercise will focus on theatre-level Indo-French military cooperation in aero-naval and anti-submarine warfare.

One of the attractions this year would be the naval version of Rafale fighter jets.

The Charles de Gaulle is carrying 12 Rafales and nine modernised Super Etendard fighters, both built by France's Dassault company.

India had recently announced that it will buy 36 Rafales from France in fly-away condition.

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