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Thread: #France & #India bolster capabilities in #IndianOcean - Annual Varuna exercises focus on anti-submarine warfare warfare suggests that the annual exercise between the navies of India & France, was aimed at #China. asiatimes.com/2019/06/articl…
Alarmism over the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s presence in the Indian Ocean is likely misplaced at the moment, but the rapid growth of Chinese naval forces could change things in the future, with Delhi and Paris teaming up in an anti-China front led by the United States.
The second phase of Varuna was conducted off Djibouti from May 22-25, the French Embassy in India revealed last week. The tiny African nation is home to a French base, as well as to China’s first and only overseas naval facility.
Varuna training in the Gulf of Aden involved the French nuclear attack submarine Amethyste & the INS Kalvari. The two navies conducted detection, tracking and plunge attack operations “while maintaining control over maritime areas and their environment,” the French said.
France is actively present in the Indian Ocean, where it has overseas territorites and naval outposts. The Charles de Gaulle’s arrival at Changi Naval Base in Singapore on May 28 is a testament to the increasing French commitment to the security of the Indo-Pacific region.
Varuna exercises are aimed at developing interoperability & contribute to improving the relative strategic position of India and France in the Indian Ocean. The Indo-French military partnership made substantial progress with the signing of a logistics support agreement last year.
The two countries have already stepped up cooperation in the field of maritime domain awareness. They have also agreed to exchange information on the Indian Ocean security situation and are working together on a satellite system monitoring naval movements in the vast region.
This year’s Varuna exercises were the largest ever. The two sides trained to hone their submarine-hunting capabilities and likely did it with an eye on the PLA navy’s movements in the Indian Ocean, according to Indian media reports.
“The Indian Ocean remains a secondary theater for China’s navy and military, whereas it is obviously the primary one for India, the resident great power in the region,” he said.
“That means India has advantages in geography and political commitment to managing its surroundings, having almost its whole military on the scene, even though it lags behind China in economic and military terms.”
Chinese submarine presence in the Indian Ocean region has reduced significantly in recent months. It has been reported that the last passage was detected in October 2018, even though some say Chinese submarines are now capable of traveling more silently, so detection is not easy.
“If China strengthens its strategic profile in the region through the addition of new military bases, along with a qualitative and quantitative increase in its military presence, India’s perception of Chinese policy in the Indian Ocean will definitely change,” Singh emphasized.
In this scenario, the naval partnership between India and France could contribute to countering a more assertive Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean basin.
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