France's Charles de Gaulle, aircraft carrier strike force will be exercising with INS Vikramaditya in two phases in Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. As India and France is about to fix its defence cooperation in April, the dates of the exercises are being scheduled between the two navies.
Charles de Gaulle, a 42,500 tonne aircraft carrier, is on mission “Clemenceau 21”, which is involved in the fight against terrorism for several months in Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea/ Persian Gulf. It comprises two frigates and on support ship.
As per a report in Hindustan Times, the fleet with its newly appointed commander Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar will be conducting advanced exercises with the French carrier task force. INS Vikramaditya is a conventionally powered aircraft carrier with displacement of 44,500 tonnes and has MiG-29K fighters on board while Charles de Gaulle has Rafale M fighter on board.
In April, Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian will be arriving in India to deliver a lecture at a think-tank and pursue political dialogue with India. Both India and France have convergence over freedom of navigation in Indo-Pacific with Paris appointing a special envoy for the region.
Apart from this, seven Rafale fighters from France shall be arriving between April 19-23, after which the first squadron of the French omni-role fighter will be completed at Ambala air base.
India and France affixed their relationship with convergence in UN Security Council and building up Indian Air Force’s capacity through purchase of medium transport aircraft and multi-role transport tankers.