For the first time ever Indian Navy will participate in the French naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal early next month. According to sources Quad member nations are going to be part of this drill – the US, Japan and Australia.
France is deploying its Carrier Battle Group to the Indian Ocean and participating in two major exercises– La Perouse a French Naval war game which will have the Quad countries and the other Ex Varuna a trilateral exercise with India and the UAE in the western Indian Ocean. Until now, India was not invited for the French naval exercise. After the Malabar Exercise in November last year, during which the navies of India, the US and Japan got together with Australia as the new addition, India’s inclusion in the France-led joint naval drill is a significant step. The exercise is scheduled between April 5 and 7. This will be followed by another important naval exercise ‘Varuna’, which takes place annually between India and France. This time it will also include the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It will take place in the last week of April in the Western Indian Ocean.
India’s maritime diplomacy involves naval exercises with several friendly countries, keeping in mind China’s increasing influence in the Indian Ocean region. As part of maritime cooperation, the Indian and Vietnamese navies carried out a passage exercise in the South China Sea in December 2020 and also carried out war games with the navies of Singapore and Thailand in the Andaman Sea, soon after the Malabar Exercise.