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13 avr. 2017

Mission Jeanne d'Arc JDA BPC Mistral FLF Courbet BOMBAY Mumbai Inde India The Indu

JDA BPC Mistral FLF Courbet BOMBAY

Double oblitération sur le cachet SPID BPC Mistral l'une en date du 28 mars, l'autre en date du 28 avril...

Dans le cadre de la deuxième relâche opérationnelle de la mission Jeanne d’Arc 2017, Mumbai a ouvert ses portes au groupe amphibie composé du Bâtiment de projection et de commandement (BPC) Mistral et de la Frégate Légère Furtive (FLF) Courbet.

Après un accostage en fin de matinée, le BPC Mistral a eu l’honneur d’accueillir de hautes autorités indiennes dont M. Srivastava, représentant des services du Premier ministre indien. Cette rencontre symbolise l’importance de la venue du groupe Jeanne d’Arc dans le pays et les excellentes relations entretenues entre l’Inde et la France.

Le BPC Mistral dans le port de Bombay 

Présent sur zone dans le cadre de nos relations bilatérales, le contre-amiral Didier Piaton, commandant de la zone maritime de l’océan indien (ALINDIEN) et des Forces françaises stationnées aux Emirats arabes unis (FFEAU), a profité de cette occasion pour accueillir à bord du Mistral son excellence Alexandre Ziegler, ambassadeur de France en Inde. Ce dernier a donné une conférence aux officiers-élèves sur les défis de l’Inde en 2017, en présence de Monsieur Yves Perrin, consul général de France à Mumbai.

Le Mistral a ensuite reçu la visite de nombreux militaires indiens : des officiers généraux et supérieurs de la marine indienne, parmi lesquels le commandant des forces navales de l’Ouest, des commandos marine et des médecins militaires. L’objectif était de leur présenter le BPC à travers les différentes capacités offertes par la Marine nationale : bâtiment amphibie, porte-hélicoptères, hôpital et état-major embarqués. Les échanges ont été très enrichissants. Dès le lendemain, la Marine indienne a reçu les officiers français à bord de la frégate indienne, l’INS Kolkata.

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Marine nationale Cols bleus

Mission Jeanne d’Arc, made up of the amphibious assault ship/landing platform dock (LPD), Mistral, and the frigate, Courbet, called at the Mumbai port between March 29 and April 3, having set sail from the French military base in Djibouti before heading for Vietnam. It is for the third consecutive year that France has deployed this important mission in the Indian Ocean, the China Seas and the Pacific region.
On each occasion, France has chosen to call at an Indian port: Visakhapatnam in 2015 and Kochi in 2016. At the time, it had just carried out an evacuation operation in Yemen in coordination with the Indian Navy, as part of providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), for which our LPDs are among the best in the world, given their cargo capacities and deployment capabilities.
These port calls always give rise to enriching interactions between navies. The 2017 edition was no exception, with numerous reciprocal visits and exercises carried out with our officer cadets. I was able to observe this first-hand alongside Rear Admiral Didier Piaton, French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN). But over the past two years, these calls have acquired a special dimension; they reflect and support the swift development of cooperation between our two countries.

French Ambassador aboard LHD Mistral

Growing cooperation
Along with combating terrorism, maritime security has become a priority of our defence and security cooperation.
In fact, it greatly contributes to this cooperation given the threat of maritime terrorism. France has not forgotten the numerous victims the 2008 Mumbai attacks claimed, two of whom were our nationals.
Vice Admiral Luthra, Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, with the Admiral commanding French maritime forces in - Indian Ocean

Several concrete examples illustrate this unprecedented dynamic pace: in 2015, our carrier strike group (CSG) with the aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, at its core, docked at Goa as part of our bilateral exercise, “Varuna”. On that occasion, the Indian Navy — one of the few to also possess an aircraft carrier — could train on the naval version of the Rafale, which our CSG forces are equipped with. At the end of this month, the next edition of the “Varuna” exercise will be held, this time off the French coast. Once again, significant assets will be mobilised. In the meantime, India and France have held two high-level bilateral dialogues on maritime security in the Indian Ocean and signed their first White Shipping Agreement on January 18, 2017; the latter’s operationalisation will be a significant step towards more ambitious exchanges and complex cooperation.
LHD Mistral calling at Mumbai port

We will not rest on our laurels. There are several reasons for this. France has significant interests in the Indian Ocean due to its overseas territory, Reunion Island, which is home to over a million French citizens; its 2.8 million square kilometres of exclusive economic zone (i.e. more than 10% of the Indian Ocean’s surface), and the volume of sea traffic in this zone. Due to this, we have significant means in the Indian Ocean, whether deployed permanently or depending on requirement. India is France’s top strategic partner in Asia and our intention is to work towards making this relation fructify further alongside our other partners in the region such as Australia, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam. We share, in particular, the same values of preserving the freedom of navigation and respecting the international law of the sea.

French Ambassador aboard LHD Mistral

Therefore, it is both natural and necessary that France and India do more together in the Indian Ocean to serve our shared interests of security. I am convinced that over the next few years, this cooperation will become one of the pillars of the strategic partnership between our two countries. We are ready to take up this challenge.

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