[India], March 7 (ANI): The carrier strike group (CSG) was flagged off by French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly from on board aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle off Toulon, ahead of its departure for an operational deployment lasting several months, informed the French embassy.
"Over 2,000 women and men embarked the Charles de Gaulle, which spent 18 months in a dockyard for a major refit and upgrade of its weapons system. It can now accommodate 30 Rafale combat aircraft and two Hawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft," the embassy said in a statement.
"The carrier strike group (CSG), known as the Clemenceau Mission, has been deployed to participate in air and naval operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant, to enhance knowledge of the areas it traverses, as well as to reinforce European cooperation and nurture the strategic partnerships that France maintains in the Near and Middle East, as well as in the Indian Ocean," the statement added.
An air defense frigate, a multi-mission frigate, a command and supply ship, and a nuclear-powered attack submarine are also part of the CSG, which will be reinforced throughout the mission by ships from many different allied navies, it added.
It will include Portuguese, Danish, British, Italian, Australian and American escort vessels, providing a major opportunity to enhance their inter-operability, the French embassy said.
"As part of its primary mission to protect French citizens, the carrier strike group will join the international coalition against the Daesh for one month, under its French component, known as Operation Chammal," it said.
It will then enable France to improve its knowledge of the strategic environment and strengthen its partnerships in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean through several exercises with neighbouring nations, the statement said.
At its final stop, Singapore, where it will dock during the Shangri-La Dialogue, the CSG will contribute to boosting France's international reputation by affirming its status as a maritime power, it added.
The Armed Forces minister addressed the crew of the Charles de Gaulle off Toulon, to wish fair winds and following seas to its 2,000 sailors. (ANI)