India on Friday objected to a US Navy ship conducting a “freedom of navigation” patrol in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without its prior consent. “We have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ to the government of USA through diplomatic channels,” India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
The US 7th Fleet said in a statement earlier that the USS John Paul Jones on Wednesday “asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, inside India’s EEZ, without requesting India’s prior consent, consistent with international law”. It said India’s requirement that countries receive prior consent for military operations in its EEZ was “inconsistent with international law” and that the United States “will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows”. Bagchi said the vessel was monitored continuously as it sailed from the Persian Gulf toward the Malacca Strait.
He said in a statement that India believes the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea does not authorise countries to carry out military exercises or manoeuvres, particularly involving the use of weapons or explosives, in other states’ EEZs and continental shelfs without the consent of the coastal state.