Indian, French Navies Begin Biggest-Ever Exercise off Goa
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BOMBAY
The Indian and French navies April 6 began their biggest-ever joint exercise off the coast of the west Indian resort state of Goa, an Indian navy spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
“The exercise, Varuna 2004, started early morning [April 6],” said spokesman Harish Bobade.
Expected to last until April 15, the maneuvers will cover the entire spectrum of naval exercises such as anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and air combat, he said.
The French fleet has moved out of the Arabic-Persian Gulf for the war games off Goa.
Varuna 2004 represents the culmination of a series of Indo-French naval exercises that have been held since 1998.
“It will enable our two navies which are of comparable sizes to undergo a sophisticated training and operate together,” a French consulate statement said Monday.
“Varuna 2004 will be unique by the number of aircraft and vessels involved by both the nations. An equal number of six vessels each will participate and will be placed alternately under French and Indian command.”
The French will be represented by a huge aero-naval group led by the 40,000-ton nuclear powered aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”, which can hold up to 40 aircraft.
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