NEW DELHI, APRIL 10
India has lodged diplomatic protests here and in Washington DC over the passage of its warship, USS John Paul Jones, through its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without consent. India and the US differently interpret a key clause in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
India is among the group of countries insisting that its consent is essential for an external military power to hold exercises, in particular those involving the use of weapons or explosives. The US, however, maintains that this interpretation restricts the concept of a free and open ocean, and needs to be challenged, which it does practically every year. The only additional element this year is that the US Navy also issued a statement immediately after the passage.
The Pentagon insisted that Indian misgivings were misplaced, stating it was an “innocent passage” to assert navigational rights and freedoms. Interestingly, the Pentagon claimed that the passage tool place through Maldives’ EEZ without requesting prior permission. — TNS