Panaji: The fourteenth edition of Indo-French naval exercise Varuna concluded on Saturday, an official statement said.

The exercise, which started April 23, saw the participation of French navy’s aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne, replenishment tanker Meuse and Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft.

The carrier had its complement of Rafale M and Super Etendard fighters, E2C Hawkeye AWACS and Dauphin and Alouette 3 helicopters. 

From the Indian side, aircraft Carrier INS Viraat, destroyer Mumbai, stealth frigate Tarkash, guided missile frigate Gomati, replenishment tanker Deepak, submarine Shankul and a few fast attack craft participated. 

Aviation assets fielded by the Indian Navy included carrier-borne Sea Harriers fighters, maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8 I and Dorniers along with integral helicopters Seaking 42B and Chetak.

“The exercise goes a long way in enhancing interoperability between the two navies and also showcases the close ties between the two countries,” an official statement said.

“Varuna aims at deriving mutual benefit from the experiences of the two navies. The confidence gained through such exercises helps develop standard operating procedures, particularly in the fields of joint maritime air operations planning with exchange of carrier operational capabilities,” it added.

The ten-day long exercise included both harbour and sea phases.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, French Ambassador Francois Richier and Western Naval Command Vice Admiral chief, Vice Admiral S.P.S. Cheema were present at the concluding ceremony.

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