By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Nov 3:
French Navy Ship (FNS) Aconit was on nearly a weeklong goodwill visit to Mumbai during which its officers and crew interacted with their Indian counter parts and also participated in joint exercise with Indian Navy ships.
The ship visited Mumbai from October 28 to November 02 under the command of Commander Jean-Bertrand FNS Guyon. “Aconit” is one of the five La Fayette Class frigates of the French Navy. The frigate had earlier visited Visakhapatnam in 2015.
The Commanding Officer, Commander Guyon, called on Vice Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command and interacted with him over issues of mutual interest.
During the stay at Mumbai, the ship’s crew had professional and social interactions with personnel of the Indian Navy. The visit culminated with an exercise at sea with a warship of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet. French frigate Chevalier Paul was also in Mumbai in November last year.
FNS Aconit is a general purpose Stealth frigate of the French Navy. Initially named ”Jauréguiberry”, she is the fourth French vessel named after FNFL corvette “Aconit”. Based in Toulon, the frigate took part in the Mare Aperto exercises with the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean in October last year.
In September this year, the frigate was deployed to the Indian Ocean participating in exercises with the Egyptian Navy en route. She is scheduled to complete a life extension upgrade by 2023 and to remain in service until 2034.
Over the decades, cooperation between India and France has grown exponentially in various defence related fields. The current visit of FNS Aconit to Mumbai is a reflection of the growing cooperation between the two navies and their enhanced interoperability. With peace and stability in the region being of common interest, the two navies are committed to working together towards that goal, an official statement read.