Indian Ocean –
On April 7, 2021 (local time), USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the vicinity of the Republic of the Maldives by conducting innocent passage through its territorial sea and normal operations within its exclusive economic zone without requesting prior permission, consistent with international law. The Maldives requires prior permission for foreign warships to enter its territorial sea, and prior permission for all foreign vessels to enter its exclusive economic zone, claims inconsistent with international law. This freedom of navigation operation (“FONOP”) upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging Maldives’ excessive maritime claims.
U.S. Forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on a daily basis. All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.
We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs), as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future. FONOPs are not about one country, nor are they about making political statements.