US asserts right of navigation in India waters accusing New Delhi of ‘excessive maritime claims’

India and the United States are having a rare moment of disagreement in their burgeoning defence ties, with Washington accusing New Delhi of “excessive maritime claims” while asserting the right of navigation for its warships close to Lakshwadeep islands.

“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,”

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby on Friday, said after India conveyed its concern over the matter earlier this week. Kirby said the move was “consistent with international law.”

Earlier, the US Navy said it conducted a freedom of navigation operation in Indian waters without prior consent to challenge India’s “excessive maritime claims,” triggering a sharp reaction from New Delhi.

“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 Exclusive Economic Zone (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,” India’s ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

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