Agalega Island, Mauritius. In recent months, this island located in the Indian Ocean has been the subject of debate not only in India but throughout the world. In many international media, Agalega Island has been described as India’s military base. However, the Indian military and government have not released any official statement regarding this claim. In such a situation, the question arises as to whether Agalega Island is in fact an Indian military base located in the Indian Ocean or something else?
Why is this island under discussion right now?
The day before, the Qatari media Al Jazeera had said in its report that India was building a military base on the island of Agalega. The report even claimed that military experts who analyzed the evidence gathered by the Al Jazeera investigative unit claim that an airstrip under construction at Agalega is almost certainly used by the Indian Navy for missions of maritime patrol. A few months ago, the Lowy Institute in Australia made a similar statement.
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Where is the island of Aglega located?
Agalega is a group of two islands located approximately 1,100 km from the main island of Mauritius. Its north island is 12.5 km long and 1.5 km wide, while the south island is 7 km long and 4.5 km wide. One airstrip remains on its northern island, Vingt Cinq. About 300 people live on this island spread over 6,400 acres. The main business of these people is coconut cultivation and fishing.
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Why is it said to be India’s sea base?
India is developing the island of Agalega in Mauritius. The airstrip on this island was extended a few days ago. In addition, several piers were also built on the shores of the island to accommodate ships and boats. Based on this, many international think tanks and media organizations call it India’s military base. However, India has never confirmed the presence of a navy on the island.
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India signed an agreement in Mauritius in 2015.
India signed an agreement in 2015 to modernize facilities on Agalega Island in Mauritius. Since then, infrastructure development work on this island has continued. The agreement includes the establishment and modernization of infrastructure to improve maritime and air connectivity on the island. Apart from that, there was also an agreement to train the Mauritian army in the protection of mutual maritime interests around the island.
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What was included in the agreement?
A jetty was to be built as part of this project. In addition to the reconstruction and expansion of the runway on the northern island of Agalega, it was agreed to build an airport terminal. The total cost of this project is $ 87 million, funded by India. India’s main objective through this project is to increase the capacity of the Mauritian security forces.
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Mauritius is strategically important
Mauritius is located in a strategically important region of the Indian Ocean. Billions of dollars in trade are carried out in this region every year. Being close to the African continent, a large part of the Indian Ocean can be monitored from this country. Near this country is Reunion Island, which is occupied by France. France has maintained a large military base on this island. In the northeast of Mauritius is Diego Garcia, where the American and British military bases are located.
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Close relationship between Mauritius and India
The strength of relations between India and Mauritius is understood by the fact that this country celebrates its national holiday on March 12, anniversary of Gandhiji’s Salt Satyagraha. Maurice believes that because of this inspiration, she obtained her independence from the British in 1968. Mauritius has always been with India in many important campaigns such as the free trade agreement with India, the economy of the blue ocean, maritime security, the anti-piracy operation.
India has built a metro and a hospital in Mauritius
India launched the New Mauritius Supreme Court construction project in 2016 thanks to a special US $ 353 million economic program granted to Mauritius. This building was inaugurated in 2020. Apart from that, the Metro Express service was launched in Port Louis, capital of Mauritius, with the help of India. Apart from this, a state-of-the-art 100 bed ENT hospital has also been built in collaboration with India.