India Conveys Concern To The US Over ‘Freedom Of Navigation Ops’ Near Lakshadweep Islands

India conveyed “concerns” to the United States after the USS John Paul Jones Navy guided-missile destroyer conducted freedom of navigation operation near India’s Lakshadweep Islands on April 7, according to a statement on Friday.

“The USS John Paul Jones was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits,” said the Ministry of External Affairs. “We have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone] to the Government of U.S.A through diplomatic channels.”

The US 7th Fleet said on Wednesday that the USS John Paul, “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.”

It went on to say that “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 claim.”

The operation, however, triggered controversy in India, with maritime experts contending it was “not incidental” and was a clear violation by the US.

The statement on Friday noted that the government of India’s stated position on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is that the “Convention does not authorize other States to carry out in the Exclusive Economic Zone and on the continental shelf, military exercises or maneuvers, in particular those involving the use of weapons or explosives, without the consent of the coastal state.”