The 7th Fleet of the US Navy has made an announcement about one of its warships
New Delhi, April 9
In what could lead to serious questions on the India-US relations, the US Navy has announced that it has ‘asserted’ navigational rights in the Arabian Sea and inside India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), without requesting India’s prior consent.
The 7th Fleet of the US Navy has made an announcement about one of its warships saying “USS John Paul Jones (it) asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands. 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.”
The US said its act was consistent with international law while India’s claims were not in order of the 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,” the statement of the 7th fleet 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, it said.
Former Indian Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash tweeted, “There is irony here. While India ratified UN Law of the Seas in 1995, the US has failed to do it so far. For the 7th Fleet to carry out FoN (Freedom of Navigation) missions in Indian EEZ in violation of our domestic law is bad enough. But publicising it? USN please switch on IFF (identification of friend or foe).”
The Indian Navy is yet to respond.
Two years ago, a Chinese survey vessel was driven out of the EEZ off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands on the same grounds that it had no prior permission.
The ‘Quad’ – India , US, Japan and Australia – along with the French Navy are doing a first-of-its kind multi-lateral maritime exercise, La Pérouse.