India raises concerns over US navy ship’s patrol in its zone

11:27 PM | 9 Apr, 2021
India raises concerns over US navy ship’s patrol in its zone

NEW DELHI – The Indian government on Friday expressed concerns after a US Navy ship that conducted a “freedom of navigation” patrol in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without its prior consent.

India's External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a statement said, “We have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ to the Government of U.S.A through diplomatic channels”.

“The Government of India’s stated position on the United Nations 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 USS John Paul Jones was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits,” the statement read.

Earlier, the US 7th Fleet in a statement said the Navy ship 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.

“India requires prior consent for military exercises or maneuvers in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, a claim inconsistent with international law. This freedom of navigation operation (“FONOP”) upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging India’s excessive maritime claims,” the US statement read.

“U.S. 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,” it added.

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