“Challenging Excessive Maritime Claim”: US Navy Warship Enters Indian Waters Without Permission

The 7th fleet of the US Navy is its largest fleet. The United States had sent it to the Gulf of Bengal to pressure India during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.


In a surprising development, the 7th fleet of the US Navy said that it has sent a warship about 130 nautical miles west of Indian territory Lakshadweep. In a statement, it further said that the Warship was sent to assert the “Navigational Freedom and Rights”. The US move could lead to a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

The 7th Fleet of the US Navy itself has given this information in a statement released on 7 April. According to the statement, “USS John Paul Jones asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 Nautical miles west of Lakshadweep Islands, India’s exclusive economic zone, without requesting India’s prior consent, consistent with international law.”

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It further said that the move has been taken under the “Freedom of Navigation Operation” and is aimed at challenging “India’s excessive maritime claims”. It further added that it routinely conducts such operations which are “not about one country, nor are they about making political statements”.

However, US warship entering India’s exclusive economic zone without mandatory permission from the Indian authorities has put a big question mark on the motive of the country. The tone of the statement put out by the 7th fleet of US Navy is unprecedented and unusually aggressive.

US Operation Against India’s Maritime Policy

This US operation is against India’s Maritime Security Policy. Indian Navy officials, who are aware of the entire matter, on the condition of anonymity, said that the exclusive economic zone of any coastal country is limited to 200 nautical miles i.e. 370 kilometres from the coastline. The concerned country has the right and sovereignty over all the resources at sea. In such a situation, India’s permission is required for any military activity in this area. A similar action was carried out in 2019 by a Chinese ship close to Andaman and Nicobar. The then Naval Chief had warned China saying if the country wants to conduct any Naval exercise near the Indian territory, due permission must be sought.

No Comment By Foreign Ministry or The Indian Navy Yet

The 7th fleet of the US Navy is its largest fleet. The United States had sent it to the Gulf of Bengal to pressure India during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. So far no official comment has been made by the Navy or the Foreign Ministry in this matter. The US Navy’s 7th Fleet commented, “American forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region every day.” The US Navy also performs this type of operation in the disputed South China Sea.

Former Navy Chief raised questions on the actions of the US Navy

Regarding the US Navy’s operation, former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash tweeted, “FoN ops by USN ships (ineffective as they may be) in the South China Sea, are meant to convey a message to China that the putative EEZ around the artificial SCS islands is an “excessive maritime claim.” But what is the 7th Fleet message for India?

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