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Indian Navy exercises with French and Royal Navies

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NEW DELHI (BNS): The Indian Navy’s Task Force’s deployed to Europe from May 09 returned to home waters after a two month deployment westwards.

The task force sailing under the command of the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet RAdm Surinder Pal Singh Cheema, comprised the destroyer INS Delhi, the frigates INS Brahmaputra and Beas, and the replenishment ship INS Aditya, as per media reports.

The task force returned after successfully honing their skills of joint operations with the Royal Navy and the French Navy.

After seven years of bilateral exercise this was for the first time VARUNA (Indo French Naval Exercises) occurred outside Indian waters, off the coasts of Brittany.

On the French side assets placed under CECLANT’s command (the Admiral Commanding Atlantic Ocean Zone), notably the destroyer Primauguet with a helicopter, the frigate Lieutenant de Vaisseau Le Hanaff the nuclear powered attack submarine Emeraude alongwith several French aircraft, including maritime patrol aircraft and navy’s fighters also participated in the exercise.

India and France both desire to strengthen their naval cooperation which has already proven to be solid and is not restricted to VARUNA series alone, as is evident from ongoing activities in the Indian Ocean, where navies of both sides are coordinating their efforts towards the suppression of piracy off Somali.

In the same voyage the Indian Task group also progressed Exercise KONKAN, an annual exercise between Indian and Royal Navies, conducted with the aim of building maritime inter-operability and mutual understanding. After four such exercises in Indian waters. KONKAN-09 is the first to be conducted in UK waters.

UK participants, commanded by Commodore Simon Ancona, include the frigates HMS Westminster and HMS Lancaster, the nuclear powered submarine HMS Trafalgar, the auxiliaries RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Fort Rosalie, RAF aircraft Nimrod, Hawks and Merlins.

Crews were exchanged with both the navies. Wherein IN crew embarked on RN/FN ships and vice versa.

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