Note: All the information shared in this article about Agalega military base are in the public domain. No sensitive data is being compromised here. The word “Secret” is used because very little information is available in the Public domain
This Article is based upon the report published by the Lowy Institute
Hello defence lovers! Recently India has signed the UTF harbour agreement with the Maldives and a Free Trade Agreement with Mauritius during EAM S Jaishankar’s visit to these countries. Now In this article, we are going to talk about a very secret base that India is constructing on an island called Agalega in Mauritius. There is not much information available on this base in the public domain as India is very secretive about this project. Recently the Lowy Institute (It is an Australian Think tank that publishes Asia Power Index and many other important reports) published a report on the Agaelaga Island highlighting India’s construction pace.
In 2015, the Indian government made an agreement with the Mauritius government to develop an Airstrip on the Agaglega island. The construction work began in 2018 and so far the Indian government has maintained silence on this. The reason behind this silence is Chinese influence. Chinese backed groups tried to disrupt the agreement back in 2015 by misguiding the local population. Overall India has invested $87 million in the construction.
The Agalega island is located on the South-western part of the Indian Ocean, near Madagascar. The location is strategically extremely important. It is very close to the Reunion island which is a french oversea territory. Although the Indian Navy has access to the French Reunion Island, the base at Agalega would enhance the Indian Navy’s capabilities by many folds.
Countering String Of Pearls
China is countiniously working to enhance its presence in the Indian ocean Region. By its String of Pearls strategy China wants to encircle India in the Indian ocean, so that in any future conflict it can create a naval blockade. China has the ambition to become global superpower and thus it wants to dominate the Indian Ocean. Of course we Indians just could not let that happen. India is also planning the double Fish hook strategy to counter China. The Agalega base will add another vital point in the Western Fishhook.
An Indian Permanent Oversea Military Base?
Recent satellite images reveal that India has constructed a 3000 meters long runway on the Agalega island. This runway has specifically been constructed to support the operation of the Indian Navy’s P-8I Neptune Submarine hunter aircraft. The satellite images also reveal that India has also constructed large support facilities as well. Once completed, the Indian Navy will permanently station some of its P-8I aircraft to monitor the Chinese submarine activities. The constructions are going on at a rapid pace. There are presently over 150 Indian workers on the island which is more than half of the Island’s total population. Although Agalega belongs to Mauritius, looking at the constructions and the probable deployment of Indian forces in the near future, Agalega would definitely become a permanent Indian oversea Military base.
Having a permanent military base in the Indian ocean will boost the Indian Navy’s capabilities by many folds. Not only it will help in keeping a close eye on the Chinese activities but also help the Indian Navy in Humanitarian and Search and Rescue missions.