India is building air and naval base at a small island located 700 miles north in Mauritius. Satellite imagery shows airfield and port development is currently ongoing. Images show a new 3000-meter runway capable of hosting the Indian Navy’s new Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft.
A small island situated in south-western India is a hive of construction activity currently. This Mauritian island of North Agalega cut off from the world is located 700 miles north in Mauritius. It is one mile wide and seven mile long and has a total population of approximately 300 people.
In 2015, India wanted access to the islands to construct an air and naval staging point for the south-west Indian ocean’s surveillance.
Satellite imagery shows airfield and port development is going on. New images show a new 3000-meter runway. This runway is capable of hosting the Indian Navy’s new Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft.
The base at the island will cement the presence of India in the south-west Indian Ocean. New imagery will be released within a few months. People will understand capabilities and full scale easily after new imagery is made public.
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This project involves a port, a new airport, communication facilities and logistics. Details of the project are held by Mauritius and India. As per new imagery, it seems fields and barracks will be used as sporting facilities or parade ground.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs stated the agreement with Mauritius inked in 2015 would “go a long way in ameliorating the conditions of the inhabitants of this remote island”. India was seeking for the same arrangements in the Seychelles.
This development is a manifestation of India’s 2016 vision for the Indian Ocean, articulated as “Security and Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR). Under SAGAR, New Delhi aims to work together with Indian Ocean regional governments to “engineer virtuous cycles of cooperation”.
In Mauritius, this facility will offer the chance to observe shipping routes around Southern Africa. This facility also provides the best performance point for India’s new P8I fleet.
This island also offers electronic intelligence facilities and location for communications.
India and Mauritius has a close security relationship that strengthened ethnic ties. Many Indian officials hold top security positions in the Mauritian government.
India has been developing its military access to the Mozambique Channel and south-west Indian Ocean by developing an air facility and a new naval facility on remote Assumption Island of Seychelles.
The Seychelles President signed an agreement in 2015. This was to build the Assumption island. However, this deal did not go well and generated political opposition.
In 2018, a revised deal was signed, but the newly elected president in Seychelles canned the project over environmental concerns.
The Iranian presence in the Indian Ocean is seen as a counter to the Anglo-American base at Diego Garcia. The Indian Ocean island Naval Base of Diego Garcia is the key launchpad for western powers in case of an attack on Iran.
In in the wake of the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike, Pentagon sent six B-52 strategic bombers to military base on Diego Garcia that is beyond the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles to prepare to hit Tehran if given the order.