US Navy conducts freedom of navigation operation in Indian waters without New Delhi’s prior consent
Washington: The US Navy carried out a freedom of navigation operation in the Indian waters near Lakshadweep Islands on Wednesday without New Delhi’s prior consent to challenge India’s “excessive” maritime claims, according to an official statement.
The operation was conducted by the guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones on April 7, a statement issued by the Commander of the US seventh fleet said.
“On April 7, 2021 (local time) USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, inside India’s exclusive economic zone, without requesting India’s prior consent, consistent with international law,” the statement said.
India requires that other countries should take prior consent from it to conduct military exercises or manoeuvres in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, which the US Navy statement claimed was inconsistent with international law.
“This freedom of navigation operation (“FONOP”) upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognised in international law by challenging India’s excessive maritime claims,” it said.
US forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on a daily basis. All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, the statement said.
“We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs), as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future. FONOPs are not about one country, nor are they about making political statements,” it added.
It is not the first time that the US Navy has conducted such an operation in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The US Department of Defence publishes an annual Freedom of Navigation Report “identifying the excessive maritime claims that US forces operationally challenged”.
The last time the US Navy conducted such an operation was the fiscal year 2019, according to the Department of Defence.
In an unclassified report to the US Congress in July 2020, the US Navy said it conducted an operation in the Indian Ocean region during the period of October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019, to preserve the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations by international law.
India conveys concern to US over warship carrying out navigation ops off Lakshadweep
New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) India on Friday said it has conveyed concerns to the United States over a US Navy ship carrying out a freedom of navigation operation in the Indian exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said US Navy ship John Paul Jones was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits.
India’s reaction came after the US Navy, in an unusual move, announced that one of its ships conducted patrols in the Indian EEZ this week, without seeking consent from India.
“The USS John Paul Jones was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits. We have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ to the government of USA through diplomatic channels,” the MEA said.
It said India’s stated position has been that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea does not authorise other countries to carry out military exercises or manoeuvres in an EEZ and on the continental shelf without the consent of the coastal nation.
“India’s stated position on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is that the convention does not authorise other States to carry out in the Exclusive Economic Zone and on the continental shelf, military exercises or manoeuvres, in particular those involving the use of weapons or explosives, without the consent of the coastal State,” the MEA said.