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Despite fire, INS Vikramaditya takes part in Indo-French exercise

Days after an officer died fighting a fire on board INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier will participate in the upcoming 10-day Indo-French naval exercise 'Varuna 19.1' which gets underway here on Wednesday.

Panaji: Days after an officer died fighting a fire on board INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier will participate in the upcoming 10-day Indo-French naval exercise 'Varuna 19.1' which gets underway here on Wednesday.

An Indian Navy statement also said that the exercise will be conducted in two phases - the harbour phase at Goa, which would include cross-visits, professional interactions and sports events, and the sea phase, which comprises various exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations.

"The upcoming 17th edition includes participation of the French Navy's aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers, FNS Forbin and FNS Provence, the frigate FNS Latouche-Treville, the tanker FNS Marne and a nuclear submarine," the statement said.

"From the Indian side, the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, destroyer INS Mumbai, the Teg-class frigate, INS Tarkash, the Shishumar- class submarine, INS Shankul and the Deepak-class fleet tanker, INS Deepak, will be participating in this exercise," it added.

On April 26, Lieutenant Commander D.S. Chauhan died while firefighting on board the INS Vikramaditya while the aircraft carrier was entering the harbour in Karwar, Karnataka.

Part two of the exercise, 'Varuna 19.2', is scheduled to be held at the end of May in Djibouti.

The bilateral naval exercise, initiated in 1983 and christened 'Varuna' in 2001, form a vital part of the Indo-French strategic partnership and has grown in scope and complexity over the years.

"This exercise exemplifies the strong relations between the two nations, in line with the joint strategic vision of India-French co-operation in the Indian Ocean region signed by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the former's state visit to India in March 2018," the statement said.