India all set for France's La Pérouse naval drill. Here's all you need to know
India and three other members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), the United States, Australia, and Japan, is all set to take part in the 'La Pérouse' joint naval exercise, organised by France and scheduled to take place from April 5-7 at the Bay of Bengal.
French warships—the Tonnerre, an amphibious assault helicopter carrier, and the Surcouf, a La Fayette-class frigate—have already begun to arrive in Kerala’s Kochi ahead of the navies' exercise, according to news agency ANI. The programme carries diplomatic significance and exam-like rigour for as many as 150 young French cadets, including women cadets.
Here's all you need to know about the upcoming La Pérouse naval drill among the Quad nations:
What is the La Pérouse naval exercise?
According to Captain Arnaud Tranchant of the Tonnerre ship, the La Pérouse joint naval exercise is a training session among France, India, Japan, the US, and Australia. Eight ships from five countries will be sailing to the Bay of Bengal for the naval exercise from April 5-7.
"I will be the commanding officer of the task group as the training is a French initiative. We will make many such trainings to enhance interoperability among the different navies," ANI quoted Captain Tranchant as saying.
India has been fortifying its maritime diplomacy with the Quad nations, as is apparent with the Indian Navy's growing participation in such exercises. This is the first time the French navy is conducting a joint drill with all four members of the Quad – India, Australia, Japan and the US – in regional waters, and the wargame comes weeks after the maiden Quad Leaders Summit on March 12.
In November last year, India took part in the Malabar Exercise with the naval forces of Japan, Australia and the US. In the coming weeks, India and France will also hold a large-scale Varuna exercise in the Western Arabian Sea that will involve a French aircraft carrier battle group.
Last leg of training
As many as 150 cadets, from the latest batch of the French Naval Officer Application School, will face the La Pérouse exercise like an exam. It will also serve as their last leg of training, and as such holds substantial significance for their careers, according to a report by ANI.
In an interview with the news agency, these cadets shared their experiences and said that taking part in such international exercises with strategic partners immerses them in their future profession, which focuses on the sea and learning to work with the navies' of other nations. They are all set to pass from the acclaimed naval school and embarked on the amphibious assault helicopters carrier Tonnerre for this purpose. A number of women officers, who account for 15% of the French navy’s strength, are also part of the exercise.