India and the three other Quad countries kicked off a major naval exercise with France in the Bay of Bengal. underlining the growing strategic congruence in ensuring a secure and stable Indo-Pacific in face of China’s belligerence in the region.
India deployed its advanced stealth frigate INS Satpura and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kiltan, along with P-8I long range maritime patrol aircraft, for the three-day La Pérouse exercise led by France.
“The exercise will witness complex and advanced naval operations, including surface warfare, anti-air warfare and air defence operations as well as weapon firings, cross-deck flying, tactical manoeuvres and seamanship evolutions such as replenishment at sea,” said Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal.
France has fielded amphibious assault warship Tonnerre and frigate Surcouf, while the US is represented by amphibious transport dock ship Somerset. Australia, in turn, has deployed frigate Anzac and tanker Sirius, while Japan is represented by destroyer Akebono.
The navies of the Quad—India, US, Japan and Australia—had also come together for the high-voltage Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea last November after 13 years.