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Pentagon defends US Navy’s military moves in Indian seas

The Pentagon has defended its Navy arguing its navigational rights within India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without taking New Delhi’s consent, calling the move “consistent with international laws”. 

The US Navy on Wednesday announced that it conducted a freedom of navigation operation in Indian waters without prior permission. The US Navy’s action triggered a reaction from New Delhi, which on Friday said it has conveyed concerns to Washington through diplomatic channels. 

When asked about India’s reaction over the US Navy’s move, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby on Friday said, “I can tell you is that the USS John Paul Jones, a Navy destroyer, asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the vicinity of the Republic of the Maldives by conducting innocent passage through its territorial sea in normal operations within its exclusive economic zone without requesting prior permission”. 

The Ministry of External Affairs in its statement said, “India’s stated position on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is that the Convention does not authorise other states to carry out in the EEZ 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.” 

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