India and France conducting joint surveillance mission in Mozambique Channel

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India and France have teamed up to carry out a joint maritime surveillance mission in the Mozambique Channel using P-8I and Falcon 50 aircraft.

The Indian Navy said a P-8I arrived in Reunion on 8 November for joint surveillance missions in the Reunion exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as part of coordinated operations with the French Navy. Joint surveillance and mapping are due to take place from 9 to 11 November with the P-8I and French Navy Falcon 50 maritime surveillance aircraft.

“This deployment will further enhance maritime domain awareness, security and safety in the Southern Indian Ocean Region (IOR),” the Indian Navy said.

In addition to joint surveillance and ocean bed mapping, France and India will combat piracy, drug trafficking, arms smuggling and the presence of ‘extraneous powers’ on the eastern seaboard of Africa.

The joint surveillance mission comes after a similar mission in May 2022, which involved a P-8I deploying to Reunion along with French frigates Floreal and Nivose, and a P-8I deployment to Reunion in March 2020.

The joint mission also follows weeks after a maiden naval exercise between India, Mozambique and Tanzania that was held from 27 to 29 October. The Indian Navy was represented by the guided missile frigate INS Tarkash. The exercise aimed at capability development to address common threats through training and sharing of best practices. As part of the harbour phase, capability building activities such as vessel boarding, search and seizure (VBSS), small arms training, joint diving operations, damage control and fire fighting drills and cross deck visits were scheduled. The sea phase covered boat operations, fleet manoeuvres, VBSS, helicopter operations, formation anchoring and patrols.

INS Tarkash was earlier in October in South Africa for Exercise Ibsamar VII, which ran from 10-12 October off the Eastern Cape between the South African and Indian navies.