External Affairs Ministry expresses "concern" over US Navy patrolling Indian waters without prior consent
India and the US are strategic allies, and often conduct joint naval exercises.
April 09, 2021 / 08:05 PM IST
USS John Paul Jones Image: WIkimedia Commons/Joseph Pol Sebastian Gocong)
The External Affairs Ministry (EAM) expressed its concerns to the United States on April 9 over the recent passage of a US Navy ship through Indian waters. The patrol was reportedly done to challenge India's "excessive maritime claims".
The EAM statement read: “The Government of India’s stated position on the United Nations 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."
It added: “The USS John Paul Jones was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits (the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean). We have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ to the Government of USA through diplomatic channels.”
"India requires prior consent for military exercises or manoeuvres 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."
After the US Navy's 7th Fleet said it conducted Freedom of Navigation Operations within India's exclusive economic zone, off the Lakshadweep Islands, without prior consent, a press note was issued by the 7th Fleet Public Affairs. It read: "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."
Notably, India and the US are strategic allies and have conducted joint naval exercises. The US, India, Japan, and Australia are members of the Quad, which is viewed as a counter to China.