Linking Indian, French navies

Kochi, India: The French Navy is in consultation with navies of many countries, including India, in developing interoperability as part of its effort to carve out a mechanism to fight piracy at sea, Jerome Bonnafont, Ambassador of France to India, has said.

Captain Herve Blejean, commanding officer of the 13,000-tonne carrier that is on a six-month around-the-globe-voyage with 119 cadets, including 14 females and some foreign cadets, on board, said the problem of piracy had grown when there was not much navy participation in fighting piracy. “However, the French Navy has been able to apprehend over 25 pirates, including eight last night, after it got actively involved in this task. Indian naval ships have also done commendable work in neutralizing bids by pirates. The legal aspect of fighting piracy — bringing pirates to book — is very complicated, but we have a strong resolution from the United Nations in this regard,” he said, pointing out that in an anti-piracy offensive launched by Jeanne D’ Arc off the Somali coast on April 11 last year, 30 hostages were freed and six pirates arrested. In order to coordinate against threats of piracy, narcotic traffic, human trafficking and the like, a special communication device was deployed to connect Indian and French navies. “This is mainly to exchange operational data,” he said. As regards the French presence in the Indian Ocean, the Captain said the French continued to deploy at least two frigates here because the north of Indian Ocean faced a few issues and the French wanted this area to stabilise.

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