NEW DELHI, May 1 (Xinhua) -- India and France will hold their bilateral naval exercise, christened as "Varuna", starting from Wednesday, said official sources from the Indian Defence Ministry here on Wednesday.
Initiated in 1983, this is the 17th edition of India-France naval exercise. The bilateral naval exercise forms a vital part of the Indo-French strategic partnership, said the officials.
The drill would include participation of the French Navy's aircraft carrier "FNS Charles de Gaulle", two destroyers "FNS Forbin" and "FNS Provence", frigate "FNS Latouche-Treville", tanker "FNS Marne" and a nuclear submarine.
The Indian side would be represented by aircraft carrier "INS Vikramaditya", destroyer "INS Mumbai", Teg-class frigate "INS Tarkash", Shishumar-class submarine "INS Shankul", and Deepak-class fleet tanker "INS Deepak".
The exercise will be conducted in two phases, with the first phase, called the harbour phase, to be held on May 1-10 off the Goa coast in southern India and the second phase, called the sea phase, to be held at the end of May in Djibouti.
The harbour phase at Goa would include cross-visits, professional interactions and discussions and sports events, and the sea phase would comprise various exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations.
The "Varuna" exercise aims at developing interoperability between the two navies and fostering mutual cooperation by learning from each other's best practices to conduct joint operations. The exercise underscores the shared interests and commitment of both nations in promoting maritime security, said an official statement issued by the Indian Navy.