In a statement closely scrutinized by the Indian government, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said it had conducted freedom of navigation operations in India’s exclusive economic zone off the Lakshadweep Islands without permission from India. This is at odds with India’s maritime safety policy as such exercises require its authorization.
On April 7, 2021 (local time), the USS John Paul Jones asserted its navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, in the Exclusive Economic Zone of India, without seeking consent prior to India, in accordance with international law. India requires prior consent for military exercises or maneuvers in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, a claim incompatible with international law, ”said a statement from the US 7th Fleet in Public Affairs.
This statement would be shocking for New Delhi since the United States is among India’s closest strategic partners, with both sides repeatedly opposing China’s maritime expansionism, particularly in the Sea of India. Southern China. India and the United States hold naval exercises throughout the year.
“We carry out routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOP), as we have done in the past and will continue to do so in the future. FONOPs do not concern a single country, nor do they issue declarations. policies, “the statement read.
The Indian Navy or the Ministry of External Affairs have yet to respond.