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Indian Ocean – the dragon’s new swimming hole

16th April 2021 - 21:13 GMT | by The Geobukseon in Indo-Pacific

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A Type 052D destroyer of the PLA Navy at sea.

The Indian Ocean region is hotting up as an arena for great power competition, as China boosts its presence there.

On 7 April the USN issued a press release detailing the movement of USS John Paul Jones, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, 130nmi west of the Lakshadweep Islands and inside the Indian exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The operation was conducted without requesting Indian consent but in accordance with international law. According to the USN: ‘This freedom of navigation operation [FONOP] upheld the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea recognised in international law by challenging India’s excessive maritime claims.’

However, for many that have been quarantined at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was surprising to …

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