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Three naval ships reach France to bolster bilateral ties

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian naval ships--Mumbai, Talwar and Deepak--on Monday reached Saint Denis port of the Reunion Island in France for bolstering bilateral ties and reinforcing cooperation in maritime security between the two countries.

India and France have traditionally maintained close and friendly relations with bilateral cooperation being extended to various fields.

The establishment of the Strategic Partnership in 1998 witnessed further rise in bilateral ties with regular high- level exchanges at the Head of State and government levels, thus boosting the cooperation in trade and investment, culture, science and technology, education, nuclear energy, space and defence to name a few, a statement released by the navy said.

Naval Ships--Mumbai, Talwar, Teg and Deepak--under the Command of Rear Admiral R Hari Kumar, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, are on a two-month-long Overseas Deployment to East Africa and the South Indian Ocean region.

"Three of the four ships, INS Mumbai, INS Talwar and INS Deepak arrived in Saint Denis port of the Reunion Island, France on October 27 towards bolstering bilateral ties and reinforcing cooperation in maritime security between India and France," the statement said.

The scale and quantum of defence cooperation between the countries have progressively been stepped up in the last decade.

The growing defence cooperation is evident from the conduct of annual naval exercise Varuna, contract for the construction of Scorpene class submarines and the participation of a 400-strong contingent of the Indian armed forces in the Bastille Day parade in 2009, where the Indian Prime Minister was the Guest of Honour, it said.

India and France are also members of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a voluntary and co-operative initiative between 35 countries of the Indian Ocean Region, which has served as an ideal forum for sharing of information and cooperation on maritime issues.

"The current visit seeks to underscore India's solidarity with friendly countries of the region to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and France," it said.

During the stay, the ships would be kept open to public.

In addition, various cultural events and games between the two navies are also scheduled.

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