Admiral Alain Oudot de Dainville, Chief of the Naval Staff - the Marine Nationale (French Navy), visited India from 07 to 13 December 2007. He visited India at the invitation of Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the Indian Navy's Chief of the Naval Staff. He had the opportunity of interacting with most of the senior officers of the Navy, Army & Air Force and the senior officials of the Ministry of Defence. Admiral Dainville also visited different naval bases on India's west coast such as Goa, Mumbai and Karwar. The latter is where the new Indian Naval base is entering the second phase of its development. Admiral Dainville has already visited India in June 2005, in his then capacity of the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff of the Marine Nationale. During his previous trip, he travelled to Delhi and Vishakhapatnam.
The ties between the Indian and French Navies have developed significantly since 1998, when the two countries decided to transform their relationship into a strategic partnership. Numerous activities at sea have been conducted under the auspices of an annual naval exercise, titled Varuna. The exercise involves aircraft carriers from both nations, in addition to submarines, destroyers and minesweepers. The discussions, exchanges of people & experience, and the reflections that are organised during these major exercises as well as on other occasions, are becoming increasingly fruitful every year, and have been helpful for the two navies. The regional responsibilities of France and India have led to a real mutual understanding and the will to further their cooperation.