Agalega Islands & Its Significance for India


11:22 AM

1 min read
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What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Why in the News?
  • About Agalega Islands
  • Significance of Agalega Islands
  • Why Did Mauritians Choose India?
  • Significance for India
  • News Summary

Why in the News?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth virtually inaugurated an air strip and a jetty to ensure maritime security and connectivity to Mauritius’ Agalega islands.

About Agalega Islands

  • Agalega islands lies approximately 650 nautical miles (1,050 km) north of Mauritius.
  • It is a group of two islands with a total area of 26 sq km and a native population of about 300 people.

Significance of Agalega Islands

  • The development of the Agalega Islands is in the socio-economic and national security interest of Mauritius, and also aligns with India’s maritime vision.
  • The islands, a dependency of Mauritius, were not developed for many years.
  • The sustainability and well-being of the islands’ inhabitants presented a challenge, as even the most basic needs required referral to Mauritius.
  • The near absence of an official government or security presence was a serious vulnerability.
  • This vulnerability could be converted to strength by developing the islands and creating facilities that could operate ships and aircraft.
  • Building a jetty and an airstrip was therefore considered imperative by the government of Mauritius.
  • They chose India as their preferred development partner.

Why Did Mauritians Choose India?

  • Ties between India and Mauritius go back to 1948, 20 years before the country’s independence from Britain.
  • Seventy per cent of the inhabitants of Mauritius are of Indian origin, and the two countries share deep historical, social, and cultural bonds.
  • The consistent feature in the history of bilateral relations has been friendship and trust at all levels — the political leadership, the diplomatic and military communities, as well as between the peoples of the two countries.
  • The development of these strategically located islands required trust more than anything else. Hence, India was the obvious choice.

Significance for India

  • The goodwill and trust between the two countries will be further enhanced.
  • India will welcome opportunities to further develop these islands in collaboration with Mauritius as the latter deems appropriate.
  • The joint development of Agalega underscores India’s commitment to the vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
  • It will indicate to other maritime neighbours that India is a benign and friendly country that respects the sovereignty of independent nations.
  • India would like to emerge as the preferred development and security partner in the Indian Ocean Region.

News Summary

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth virtually inaugurated an air strip and a jetty in Mauritius’ Agalega islands.
  • PM Modi said the two countries are working actively towards ensuring security, prosperity and stability in the Indian Ocean region.
  • These projects will “enhance the island’s capacity and capabilities in marine surveillance and security, while also meeting development objectives”.
  • Since 2003, several attempts had been made to upgrade the air strip, but nothing concrete materialised.
  • The move to develop and build the new airstrip and the jetty came after PM Modi’s visit to the island country in March 2015.
  • PM Modi flagged concerns over challenges in the Indian Ocean region and said India and Mauritius are “natural partners” in the maritime domain to deal with them.

Q1) What is the Indian Ocean Rim Association?

The Indian Ocean Rim Association, formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation, is an international organisation consisting of 23 states bordering the Indian Ocean.

Q2) What is an Archipelago?

An archipelago is an area that contains a chain or group of islands scattered in lakes, rivers, or the ocean.

Source: Modi, Mauritius PM inaugurate airstrip, jetty, 6 other projects | Indian Express