Panaji: India and France will be holding a joint naval exercise off the Goa coast on April 17, which is mainly aimed at honing the skills of Indian Navy in tackling anti-piracy and anti-submarine operations. "The 30-hour exercise would begin on April 17 morning", said Commander Guillaume Fontarensky, commanding the anti-submarine Destroyer 'FNS Montcalm', currently docked at Goa's Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), before initiating exercises with the Indian Navy.
The exercise is the part of a larger naval drill held annually between the French and Indian navies. "Such kind of smaller exercises are held to increase the understanding between the two navies in between the larger drill", said Fontarensky.
"The exercise, scheduled off the Goa coast, would hone the skills of Indian Navy in anti-submarine and anti-piracy operations", the commander said, adding a common procedure would be developed by both the navies to fight against submarines of hostile nations. He said the details about participation from Indian counterpart would be known only after the session on Monday.
Meanwhile, Francois Richier, French Ambassador in India, told reporters that such an exchange was crucial for ensuring safety of the Indian Ocean. "The threat can come from anywhere, even from under the sea. This is very important for ensuring safety of the Indian Ocean", the Ambassador said, adding the threat of piracy in Indian Ocean has diminished to a great extent on the back of crackdown on the sea brigands by various navies. "The number of attacks by pirates has decreased of late, compared to the past", Richier said.