The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday expressed concerns to the United States over a US Navy ship carrying out a freedom of navigation operation in the Indian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without seeking its consent.
“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 strongly-worded statement by the MEA said.
India’s reaction came hours after the US Navy, in an unusual move, boasted that one of its ships conducted patrols in the Indian EEZ this week without India’s consent.
In the statement, MEA said US Navy ship John Paul Jones was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits.
“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.
USS John Paul Jones is a Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer of the US Navy. The ship is currently part of Destroyer Squadron 23 of the Carrier Strike Group 9, which in turn is part of the Seventh Fleet that is controlled by the United States Pacific Fleet. Nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of this fleet.
US Navy brags it breached the Indian maritime rules and conducted ops in Indian EEZ
The US Navy on Friday issued a statement announcing that its 7th Fleet conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) inside India’s exclusive economic zone without India’s consent. The US Navy claims to have challenged “India’s excessive maritime claims.”
The statement 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.”
“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,” it added, using an unusually aggressive tone.