Aljazeera claimed construction of a hidden Indian naval base on Mauritian Island in Africa.
AlJazeera’s investigative unit exposed Indian motives to build Naval Facility in the African remote Island Mauritia. They collected images from Satellite, financial data, and on-the-field evidence of the construction of a secret Naval base in Agalega.
Indian base in Agalega remained a talk of the town in 2018 but both the governments then denied any development in this regard.
The investigative unit filmed a documentary in which they elaborated every evidence under the analysis of military experts. They evidenced the construction of two large jetties and a runway that is more than 3km (1.84 miles) long on Agalega Island which is 1,100 Km from the main Island of Mauritia.
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The satellite and Social media accounts of the Indian construction workers show that Island is the home for them for the last 2 years. The shipping data also exposed Indian state-owned ships resides on Agalega from Indian port to deliver construction material. There is also new housing in Agalega but nobody knows who is moving to the Island.
The construction of infrastructure on Agaléga Island is under the MOU signed in 2015 between the governments of Mauritius and India.
The two countries had agreed upon “setting up and up-gradation of infrastructure for improving sea and air connectivity at the Outer Island of Mauritius which will go a long way in ameliorating the condition of the inhabitants of this remote Island” and improving the facilities used by the Mauritian coastguard. But there was no base to be built in Mauritia.
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Aljazeera Investigative Unit when followed from where does the construction material has been arriving from found a ship that spent a significant time near the Island. With Automatic Identification System (AIS), they have found the one ship at the northern tip of Agalega, moving with the speed of 0.6 knots, registered as the glocem. That ship is owned by an Indian company based in Mumbai.
They also found evidence of Glocem spent over a week at India’s third-largest state-owned port Visa-Kapatnum. There is also an Indian naval base and headquarters to the eastern naval command. Glocem also stayed for nearly 6 months in Agalega.
Other 7 vessels were traveling from Indian ports to Agalega, the investigative unit reported.
Experts don’t believe in any other reason than for military purposes to built that remote Island which is just home for 300 people.
Abhishek Mishra, associate fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) think-tank in New Delhi told Al Jazeera that,
“Based on my personal information, my conversations with all these people in my circle, the base will be used for the berthing of our ships and the runway will be mostly used for our P-8I aircraft.”
P-8I maritime patrol aircraft can be used for surveillance, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare.
Mauritius Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth denied the construction of any naval facility in Agalega . “Let me reiterate, most emphatically and in unequivocal terms, that there is no agreement between Mauritius and India to set up a military base in Agaléga”.
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China is very assertive in the Indian ocean and a Base race with the United States. India is in alliance with the USA, Japan, and Australia are known as Quad to compete and contain Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean. China has control over the Malacca strait and other choke points in the Indian Ocean through their multiple bases including bases in the Gulf of Taiwan and Djibouti. Agalega is located almost 2,856 Km away from the Chinese base of Djibouti at the horn of Africa.
Indian act to develop base on African Island probably directs to contain China in Indian Ocean.
Author: Usman Ali