Panaji: France’s Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain on Saturday said the ties between the two countries were exceptionally good and trustworthy, the statement coming a day after naval exercise ‘Varuna’ culminated in Goa.
He was speaking aboard French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle, which took part in the Indo-French naval exercise that began here on January 16.
“The bilateral ties between India and France are exceptionally good and trustworthy. We are of the same values. The best way to assert our strategic autonomy is by cooperating together. The two countries can co-produce lot of equipment for the defence and space sectors,” Lenain said.
Elaborating on ‘Varuna’, the Ambassador said India and France were celebrating the 30th anniversary of the exercise, adding that “every edition shows more trust, personal capabilities and more interaction between the navies”.
The participation of aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle indicated the seriousness of the French government towards the exercise, he added.
A French Navy official said the French Carrier Strike Group, comprising the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, its group of embarked aircraft and escort ships, which are deployed in the Indian Ocean as part of the Antares mission, conducted a large-scale operational cooperation with the Indian Navy.
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Held off the Goa coast, this joint preparation for air-sea warfare exemplifies the outstanding Indo-French naval cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, with ships, frigates and helicopters as well as a French command and replenishment ship carrying out numerous training sessions of increasing intensity, the official informed.
The aim of the joint exercise was to prepare the crews of the two countries to face a variety of challenges together, mobilising their anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft assets, as well as shared control of the air-sea environment and ship control, he said.
“This joint deployment in the Indian Ocean contributes to ensuring stability in the region in line with France and India’s shared approach of collective security based on respect for international law at sea and in the air,” the official said.
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