French Minister for armed forces visits Western Naval Command

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: French Minister for armed forces Florence Parly on Saturday visited western naval command here.

A thirteen-member French delegation also accompanied her.

During the visit, Parly interacted with Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command.

Aspects related to maritime security cooperation, bilateral exercises, ship visits, training, equipment, technology and professional exchanges were discussed.

Relations between France and India are being accorded priority by both sides as seen by the recent high-level interaction between the two countries. Defence cooperation has also witnessed heightened emphasis by both sides.

Interaction between the Indian French navies has, over the years, nurtured into a strong partnership based on mutual interests. Naval cooperation had progressed most encouragingly in recent years and the increasing scale of operational interaction is indicative of a growing understanding between the two navies.

On Friday, Parly met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi and it was decided that India and France will jointly conduct naval exercise ‘Varuna’ next year.

The Varuna naval exercise is an integral part of France-India strategic relationship in the 21st century and consists of naval cooperation drills between the French Navy and the Indian Navy.

The joint exercises are held either in the Indian Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea with the aim of improving Indo-French coordination on capabilities like cross-deck operations, replenishment-at-sea, minesweeping, anti-submarine warfare and information sharing.

Sitharaman and Parly also discussed regional and international developments of mutual interest. The ministers reiterated their strong intention to further expand bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism. (ANI)