India is moving forward very fast to become a superpower in the World and due to this India grow its relations with powerful nations of the World. That’s why India signed a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) with France, the defense sources said that the Indian Navy is looking for access to French naval base in Djibouti for refueling and operational turnaround.
Under the bilateral exercise Varuna, French Navy Rafale-M fighters and Indian Navy Mig-29K fighters will operate off their aircraft carriers and exercise together off Goa coast in May.
On Thursday, a defense source said, “We already have access to the French base on Reunion Island for refueling. We are in discussion for using their base in Djibouti”.
This year’s Varuna exercise will be the largest so far in terms of scope, complexity and the expanding maritime collaborative efforts under the Navy’s foreign cooperation initiative. The source said, “There will be a major focus on carrier operations and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training”.
In 2015, carriers from both sides were deployed, when INS Viraat took part. But this time, nuclear-powered carrier Charles De Gaulle of France and INS Vikramaditya of India will be taking part in the exercise. One aircraft carrier each will operate from both sides.
Both the countries have completed the Initial Planning Conference (IPC) to plan the exercise and soon the Final Planning Conference (FPC) is scheduled to be held. The two countries are already cooperating in the area of Maritime Domain Awareness through information exchange and have recently taken steps for space-based maritime surveillance.
The focus areas of the exercise are explosive detection, mine hunting, interactions between the pilots of Mig-29K and Rafale-M and also of the carrier teams in foreign object damage assessment in engines during the exercise. A source said that France has also asked for India’s assistance in training in the protection of offshore assets.