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Agalega: India's remote Island Military Base

Source: Insights by Inshorts

Islands of Mauritius located in the Indian Ocean, with a population approximated to 300, Agalega is India’s remote island military base. One could wonder why build a military base on such a tiny island, but this could be a game changer in our defense system.

Controlled by Mauritius, the North of the island is where India is building its military base. The island has another Reunion Island to its south, controlled by French, and Djibouti Island to the north, which is a Chinese base. Hence, this would help us in upping our Vigilance.

Strategic Objectives

Agalega base serves two major objectives:

  1. To coordinate with allies.

  2. Surveillance - Keeping an eye on Southern African trade routes (Most of China’s energy trade is concentrated here)

Recently, a joint patrol was conducted with French vessels from the Reunion Island.

Area & Population

The island is just 12 km long and 1.5 km wide. And has a population of less than 300.

But here's the question, Why is India developing this military base?

  • Beijing is looking to box India with the ‘String of Pearls’ initiative to contain both lands as well as the maritime footprint of India in the region.

  • ‘String of Pearls’ refers to the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities developed by China in countries falling on the Indian Ocean between the Chinese mainland and Port Sudan.

Until 2015, Agalega was nothing but wilderness surrounded by sea. It was then that India sought access to it to develop it as a staging point for its Air Force and Navy. After 6 years, the island now has a 3,000 meter-long runway, capable of hosting India's new Boeing patrol aircraft. A new seaport is being constructed to its north.

Australia's PM Scott Morrison announced close to $580 million to upgrade four military bases to the nation’s north once again courtesy, China! Upgrades including larger airstrips in the northern territory, new fire ranges, and training facilities are being planned.

From what we've seen, read, and heard, Agalega could really change the dynamics of our Military system. And we believe it won't be long when the world would recognize India for its great developments in various fields.

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