In a press release being checked out intently by the Indian authorities, the US Navy’s seventh Fleet has stated it carried out Freedom of Navigation Operations inside India’s unique financial zone off the Lakshadweep Islands with out India’s permission. This is in dissonance with India’s maritime safety coverage of such workouts requiring its authorisation.
“On April 7, 2021 (local time), the USS John Paul Jones 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 manoeuvres in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, a claim inconsistent with international law,” stated a press release by the US seventh Fleet Public Affairs.
The assertion can be jarring for New Delhi for the reason that US is amongst India’s closest strategic companions with each side having repeatedly opposed China’s maritime expansionism, notably within the South China Sea. India and the US maintain Naval workouts all year long.
“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,” the assertion stated.
The Indian Navy or the External Affairs Ministry are but to reply.
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