US challenged 13 countries including India on navigation rights

The US military conducted “freedom of navigation” operations against 13 countries last year, including India to challenge China’s claims in the South and East China seas, according to an annual Pentagon report released on Monday.The operations were against China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, the Maldives, Oman, the Philippines and Vietnam, the report said.

In the report for the period October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015, the Pentagon said it exercised its right of freedom of navigation multiple times against India, China, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The US military also carried out single operations against Argentina, Nicaragua and Taiwan, the report said.

Freedom of navigation is a principle of international law that, apart from certain exceptions, ships flying the flag of any sovereign state shall not suffer interference from other states.

“Prior consent required for military exercises or manoeuvrers in the EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” the Pentagon report said on India.

On China, it said maritime claims included excessive straight baselines; jurisdiction over airspace above the EEZ, restriction on foreign aircraft flying through an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) without the intent to enter national airspace; domestic law criminalizing survey activity by foreign entities in the EEZ; prior permission required for innocent passage of foreign military ships through the territorial seas (TTS).

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