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ALINDIEN is a French naval acronym designing the admiral in charge of the maritime zone of the Indian Ocean, and of the French forces there. The office has been held by Vice-amiral Marin Gillier since 20 December 2010. Contre-amiral is equivalent to the Commonwealth navy rank of Commodore.
ALINDIEN's jurisdiction extends over the maritime zone of the Indian Ocean, dubbed "ZMOI" (zone maritime de l'océan Indien): it comprises the area bounded on its Western part by the Red Sea and Africa, and on its Eastern part by Philippines and Viet Nam. The zone notably comprises such strategic areas as the Persian Gulf, Southern Africa, India, Australia and Singapore.
In his role as a maritime zone commander, ALINDIEN operates directly under the Chief of the Defence Staff. As a fleet commander, he operates under ALFAN, the Admiral in charge of the Force d'action navale for matters of management, training and preparation of the units permanently stationed in the Indian Ocean. The units are mostly stationed in La Réunion and Djibouti.
ALINDIEN is tasked with the operational control of the naval forces deployed in his area, unless they are detached with their own general staff. This command is exercised from a Durance class tanker ("BCR) carrying the entire general staff. Which exact ship is deployed depends on unit turnover, as the ships are relieved every four years; the Marne (A630) has served in this capacity from the summer of 2002. ALINDIEN was the only naval command of the French Navy that is permanently stationed at sea. In autumn 2010, the commanding staff moved ashore to the Abu Dhabi base and the permanently sea-stationed status of the command ended.
ALINDIEN also has duties in defence diplomacy with all neighbouring countries.
The following units are permanently under ALINDIEN command:
- Nivôse (F732), Floréal class frigate based in La Réunion
- Floréal (F730), Floréal class frigate based in La Réunion
- Commando Arta, a 60-man commando based in Djibouti
- One Atlantique 2 naval patrol plane, based in Djibouti
Reinforcements can be deployed under ALINDIEN's authority for punctual operations.
During the Iran-Iraq war, ALINDIEN's office managed the Opération Promethée, that aimed at preventing any action from either Iraq or Iran against oil shipping. Minesweepers were deployed in several occasions to secure shipping lines.
In 1992, Contre-amiral Gérard Gazzano and Hubert Foillard supported the United Nations Operation in Somalia I. From March 1993 until March 1995, Admirals Hubert Foillard and Jean-Luc Delaunay supported UNOSOM II. From 8 to 14 April 1994, Delaunay also supervised a second evacuation of foreign citizens from Aden, with Jules Verne playing a prominent role again.
In January 2005, Vice-amiral Xavier Rolin supervised Opération Beryx, a humanitarian mission to relieve populations victim of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The Dupleix, Georges Leygues and Jeanne d'Arc were notably involved.
- L'amiral commandant la Zone Maritime Océan Indien, netmarine.net
- http://www.meretmarine.com/article.cfm?id=113659, 09/07/2010
- L'histoire du BAP Jules Verne, netmarine
- See also 'Interview,' Helmoed-Romer Heitman with Rear Admiral Alain Bereau (Alindien), Jane's Defence Weekly 4 December 1996, p. 40