French Navy visits Indian Kochi port

According to information published by Indian Navy on March 31, 2021, French Naval ships, Tonnerre (Amphibious Assault Ship) and Surcouf (Frigate Class Ship) are on a two-day goodwill visit to Kochi, the headquarters of Southern Naval Command. The ships arrived at Cochin Port Trust on 30 March 2021 and were received by Senior Naval Authorities in the background of fanfare by the naval band.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Mistral-class LHD Tonnerre and frigate Surcouf (Picture source: Indian Navy)

The French delegation comprising Mr Emmanuel Lenain, French Ambassador in India at New Delhi, Rear Admiral Jacques Fayard, French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN), and Mrs. Lise Talbot Barre, Consul General of France in Puducherry were also present, as part of the visit.

The French delegation and the Commanding Officers of the French Naval ships called on Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, Vice Admiral AK Chawla on 30 March 2021. The ships will be departing Kochi on 01 April 2021.

Interactions between India and France have evolved into a strong partnership especially in the domain of maritime security. The regular conduct of bilateral exercises, goodwill visits by ships, and high-level delegation visits involving both the navies are indicative of growth in mutual cooperation and joint manship.

Tonnerre is the second of three Mistral-class LHD of the French Navy. It was launched in July 2005 and commissioned in December 2006. Designed by Naval Group, Mistral BPC (Bâtiment de Projection et de Commandment) LHD is a multi-mission 21,500t amphibious assault, command, and power projection ship. Mistral-class vessels are capable to accommodate and deploy 16 transport or attack helicopters, four landing crafts, up to 70 vehicles, or 13 main battle tanks. They have accommodations for 450 to 700 troops.

The FS Surcouf is a La Fayette-class frigate, a multi-role frigate that is able to integrate within an international task force or operate on her own in crisis situations. Her detection capacities can be enhanced by boarding a helicopter.

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