US Navy conducts operation in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone without prior consent

The U.S. Navy said one of its warship carried out Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in Indian EEZ.

In a rare and unusual public statement, the U.S. Navy conceded that it had violated India’s maritime policy by exercising in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The U.S. Navy said one of its warship carried out Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in Indian EEZ.

“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,” the U.S. Navy’s 7th fleet said in a statement dated April 7. “India requires prior consent for military exercises or maneuvers in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, a claim inconsistent with international law.”

This FONOP upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging India’s excessive maritime claims, the statement said. “We conduct routine and regular 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.

Commenting on the development, former Navy Chief Adm. Arun Prakash said on Twitter that there is an irony in this. “There is irony here. While India ratified U.N. Law of the Seas in 1995, the U.S. has failed to do it so far. For the 7th Fleet to carry out FoN missions in Indian EEZ in violation of our domestic law is bad enough. But publicising it? USN please switch on IFF (Identification, friend or foe)!,” he said in a tweet.

The U.S. regularly conducts FONOPs against several countries challenging what it says are “excessive maritime claims” and FONOPs were regularly conducted against India too in the past.


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