The United States downplayed the discord over a naval operation carried out by them within India’s maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ) last week.
The exercise, which did not have India’s permission, was conducted off the Lakshadweep coast. India was quick to register its opposition to the same via diplomatic channels.
“On April 7, the USS John Paul Jones, part of the US Navy Seventh Fleet, conducted a routine Freedom of Navigation Operation in the Indian Ocean. This operation demonstrates longstanding US support for international law and freedom of the seas worldwide,” a US Department of Défense spokesperson said.
“We value our partnership with India on a wide range of issues, including regional security across the Indo-Pacific,” the spokesperson further went on to say.
The operations were conducted by The Destroyer USS John Paul Jones near Lakshadweep, without receiving India’s permission for the same.
A statement released by the US Seventh Fleet Public Affairs had said that India’s insistence on authorising such operations was “inconsistent with international law”.
India countered by saying that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea does not let other States carry out military exercises or manoeuvres in EEZs and on the continental shelf without the consent of the coastal state.
Pentagon Press Secretary John F Kirby referred to the exercise as “innocent passage” through the waters off the Maldives, implying that military manoeuvres had not been carried out.