NEW DELHI: The US Navy‘s seventh fleet has conducted a “freedom of navigation patrol” in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), 130 nautical miles west of Lakshwadweep, it said in a statement.
The statement specifically mentioned that it conducted the patrol without India’s prior consent.
Further, it said that “India requires prior consent for military exercises or maneuvers in its exclusive economic zone, a claim inconsistent with international law.”
Justifying the move, it also said that the exercise “upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea.”
Adding that it undertakes such operations regularly in the Indo-Pacific region, the statement asserted that “…US will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”
US forces regularly conduct such operations in the South China Sea as well, a maritime region with overlapping claims by China and several other countries.
While a country has full sovereignty over territorial waters, which end at 12 nautical miles from the coast, it has special rights in exploration of marine resources in its EEZ, which stretch to 200 nautical miles from the baseline.
India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea while the US is not.