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French anti-aircraft destroyer in India weeks after operationalisation of logistics pact

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French Navy warship FNS Cassard. Photo: Wikipedia

NEW DELHI (PTI): As part of efforts to expand bilateral naval cooperation, French Navy's anti-aircraft destroyer FNS Cassard has docked at Mumbai following a reciprocal logistics support agreement signed between the two countries that came into effect recently.

The French embassy in New Delhi said the logistics support pact concluded during the India visit of President Emmanuel Macron in March last year came into operation a few weeks ago.

In a statement, it said the visit illustrates, in more ways than one, the continuous deepening of France and India's partnership in the Indian Ocean, guided by the joint strategic vision adopted by both the countries last year.

The Cassard-class destroyer last November successfully conducted a rescue mission when a tanker with an Indian crew was shipwrecked.

During the port call from January 24 to 29, the FNS Cassard will attend the visit of an EU military delegation promoting the bloc's role in fighting piracy and in providing maritime security in the Indian Ocean through its renowned operation -- EU NAVFOR.

The delegation of European Union military representatives met Indian authorities in Mumbai and New Delhi between January 22 and 24 to highlight the EU's role in fighting piracy and promoting maritime security in the Indian Ocean through EU naval operation.

"EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta has been deployed in the western Indian Ocean since 2008 as part of the international effort to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia. Through the Operation, the EU contributes to international security by upholding the free flow of trade transiting the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin," the European Union said in a separate statement.

EU NAVFOR also provides protection to vessels of the UN's World Food Programme, which delivers vital humanitarian aid to the population of Somalia.

"Working with the EU to enhance maritime security, the Indian Navy on December 24-25, 2018 conducted its very first escort of a World Food Programme vessel in support of Operation Atalanta," the EU said.

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