Skip to content


Paulina Villegas

The Agalega Islands: Home to Indian Military Bases

- The Agalega Islands have gained importance due to the construction of alleged Indian military bases.

The Agalega Islands: Home to Indian Military Bases

Agalega, a small island located in the Indian Ocean, part of the conglomerate of islands that make up Mauritius and that subsists as a result of limited coconut marketing, has become the focus of India's attention in its quest to strengthen its role as South Asian regional hegemon.

Location of the Agalega Islands in the Indian Ocean

A few weeks ago, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, joined with his counterpart the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Paravind Jugnauth, to [inaugurate the new runway, jetty and other innovative projects](https://timesofindia that are being taking place in the Agalega Islands under the discourse of solidifying the connection between it and Mauritius, as well as strengthening the maritime security of the region, a success in terms of bilateral cooperation for India and Mauritius.

In recent decades, India has positioned itself as one of the emerging powers of the contemporary world, and one of the great regional powers of South Asia. Its weapons and nuclear development for scientific research purposes, its solid alliance and relationship with the United States, and its presence in key maritime routes, have led it to generate greater Indian influence in the Asian region as a counterweight to the massive Chinese intervention. that lasts to this day. Thinking about a possible development of naval, maritime and/or military bases would not be an exaggerated assumption to raise.

Despite the different statements by the governments of India and Mauritius about the true purposes of this series of projects, there is suspicion of possible military development in the region.

The inaugurated landing strip began in 2019, when it measured no more than 800 meters. It was not until the end of 2020 that a new runway with a length of 3km was created and extended. The above, together with an accelerated infrastructural development of port facilities, but without ensuring population development, began to generate uncertainty in the inhabitants of the island, as well as in security research units.

Satellite photo of the island in 2019 without showing any major development on the island. Source: Al Jazeera

Satellite photo of the island in 2020 showing the development of important constructions. Source: Al Jazeera

The Investigative Unit of Al Jazeera, who has been documenting and reporting the phenomenon for 3 years, states that This is a secret military project financed by the government of India, with the approval and collaboration of Mauritius. The constant permanence and trajectory of ships in the northern end of the island heightened suspicions and led the unit to track the origin of 7 Indian ships in 2020, which set sail from the port of Visakhapatnam and remained for long stays in African territory. , stating that they were part of the construction project. On the other hand, in addition to the presence of approximately 1,000 Indian workers who are hired by the Bombay-based construction company Afcons Construction, official reports were recovered where the budget allocated to the development of infrastructure in the Agalega Islands is audited and declared for more of 250 million dollars, financed by the government of India, and smaller percentages destined to strengthen maritime surveillance in other islands such as Mauritius and Seychelles.

Agalega: political game, military paradise

Obtaining resources has always been one of the ultimate goals of great powers seeking to maximize their power, and obtaining resources as well as domination through access to the sea are presumed to be attractive elements for great powers.

In recent decades, one has heard about massive Chinese infrastructure investment in Africa, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to obtain coltan, projects to build hydroelectric plants in Ethiopia and the establishment of military bases in Djibouti. China, beyond accentuating its influence, is looking for a way to strengthen its One Belt, One Road project in search of economic supremacy. The above has prompted other powers, such as India, to look for alternatives as a counterweight to Beijing's influence and search for dominance of key regions.

China has not been the only country that has seen an opportunity in Africa to extend its influence, as countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France have also found a way to become present both in Africa and in this highly disputed area, the Indian Ocean. The relevance of the Indian Ocean lies in the fact that not only does 50% of the world's merchandise travel through it, but maritime routes have been established that connect both the straits of Africa and the Middle East, with the areas of South Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania, without neglecting that the Indian Ocean is the bridge to connect key routes such as the Suez Canal and Strait of Malacca, with the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean. The establishment of Indian military bases in the Agalega Islands would mean both control and domination of the Indian Ocean in terms of maritime security, and the beginning of new trade routes that connect part of the Arabian Peninsula with Africa and Australia.

The above makes the Agalega Islands an attractive destination for the establishment of military bases. Agalega represents a key location, a great strategy for the great powers in dispute to implement military bases, and India, with the aim of maintaining its presence in said area against the Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean, does not plan to give in. its role as a regional power, nor as a key actor for maintaining the balance of power.


    Chantada, A. (s.f.). Geopolítica del océano Índico y sus diversos pasos (I). Acento.

    The Economic Times. (s.f.). Karnataka: Industries Minister MB Patil signs up with Suzlon & Renaissance to get Rs 36,000 cr investment to Vijayapura district.

The best content in your inbox

Join our newsletter with the best of CEMERI

Related articles

Villegas, Paulina. “Las Islas Agalega: sede de bases militares de la India.” CEMERI, 2 abr. 2024,