India and France practiced their first joint anti-mine operations Feb. 28 as part of naval exercises in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of southern India, a French officer said.
The nine-day exercise, code-named “Varuna 2005” began Feb. 27, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
The leader of the French naval team, Capt. Marechal, told reporters this was the first time the two navies had taken part together in “mine warfare exercises,” the report said.
Marechal said the Varuna exercises, which began in 1998 within the framework of bilateral naval cooperation between India and France, had helped the two navies interact better.
Last year, the exercises off the coast of the western tourist resort state of Goa focused on anti-marine and anti-submarine warfare.
The French flotilla comprises the mine-hunting ships Orion and Aigle, and the mine warfare command ship Loire, Marechal said.
Three mine counter-measure ships, Kozhikode, Cannanore and Cuddalore, represented the Indian Navy, the report said.
About 250 Indian naval personnel and more than 300 French naval personnel were participating in the exercise.
“The French Navy has come here with the latest equipment, and we have to see how much we are going to gain by the bilateral exercise,” said Capt. R.A. Jaiswal, in charge of India’s anti-submarine warfare school.
“They are going to show us the equipment that we do not have, like ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), lasers and latest sonar,” he added.