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France to lead La Perouse naval exercise with the Quad in Bay of Bengal

FS Tonnerre arriving in India
Photo: French embassy in India

A French helicopter carrier and a frigate will be leading the multinational exercise La Perouse in the Bay of Bengal, which will be taking place between April 5 and 7.

Participating nations include India, Australia, Japan and the US, in addition to the French task group. This is the first time that the full “Quad” (a security dialogue between India, Australia, the US and Japan) will be part of the recurring exercise.

French helicopter carrier FS Tonnerre and frigate Surcouf will lead the drill as part of their Jeanne D’Arc 2021 mission, which will see the ships sail all the way to Sasebo, Japan, and transit the South China Sea twice before returning home in July this year.

The Royal Australian Navy has disclosed that frigate HMAS Anzac and tanker HMAS Sirius would be joining the exercise, while India would dispatch frigate INS Satpura and corvette INS Kiltan, in addition to maritime patrol aircraft. Japan will be represented by destroyer Akebono, and the US will be represented by amphibious transport ship Somerset.

“This exercise will see an Australian frigate and auxiliary oiler conduct a range of activities, including officer-of-the-watch maneuvers, replenishments at sea and flying operations,” Australian defense minister Peter Dutton said.

“Exercise La Perouse will also demonstrate the complementary capability of our partner nations and highlight our shared commitment to a stable and secure Indo-Pacific.”

La Pérouse participants will hone interoperability in surface warfare, anti-air warfare and air defense maneuvers and will also carry out firing exercises, cross deck flying operations, tactical maneuvers and seamanship evolutions such as replenishments at sea.