Home   »   UPSC Current Affairs 2024   »   Agalega Islands

Agalega Islands and its Geopolitical Significance

Context: Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mauritius’ PM Pravind Jugnauth jointly inaugurated an airstrip and the St James Jetty on North Agaléga Island in the Indian Ocean.

Agaléga Islands

  • A group of two islands belonging to Mauritius
  • Location: Lies approximately 650 nautical miles north of Mauritius
  • Population: a native population of about 300 people.

Agalega Islands and its Geopolitical Significance_4.1

Geopolitical Significance of Agalega Islands

  • Agaléga Island holds strategic importance in the geopolitical landscape of the Indian Ocean region due to its location.
  • Its proximity to key maritime routes makes it a potential hub for maritime activities, including trade, shipping, and naval operations.
  • Control over Agaléga provides access to and control over critical sea lanes, enhancing a nation’s ability to project power and influence in the Indian Ocean.
  • The island’s development and infrastructure initiatives can contribute to bolstering maritime security and surveillance capabilities, thereby safeguarding against illicit activities such as piracy, smuggling, and illegal fishing.
  • Agaléga’s significance extends beyond its immediate maritime domain, as it can serve as a pivot for geopolitical alliances and partnerships in the broader Indian Ocean region.

Agalega Islands and its Geopolitical Significance_5.1

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.
  • Deliberations on the project began in the early 2010s, with both sides addressing sensitivities regarding sovereignty and security.
  • 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.

Strengthening India-Mauritius Partnership

Benefits for Mauritius

  • The development of infrastructure on Agaléga will significantly reduce travel time for the islanders and create employment opportunities.
  • Enhanced infrastructure will enable a larger government presence, improved monitoring of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and better maritime security through the deployment of ships of the Mauritius Coast Guard.
  • Maritime Cooperation: It will further strengthen maritime cooperation with India, through material and technical support and information exchange mechanisms.

Benefits for India

  • India’s involvement in the development of Agaléga enhances goodwill and trust between the two countries and underscores India’s commitment to regional security and growth.
  • It demonstrates India’s willingness to assist smaller maritime nations in capacity building and development, aligning with the vision of Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).

A Military Base?

  • Agaléga will not serve as an Indian military base, respecting Mauritius’ sovereignty and ensuring peaceful coexistence.
  • India categorically denies any intentions of establishing Agaléga as an Indian military base, affirming its commitment to respecting sovereignty and acknowledging the sensitivities of smaller nations.
  • India emphasizes its adherence to international law and principles of peaceful coexistence, asserting that it has consistently operated within these frameworks, even in situations where it has suffered due to its adherence to these values.
  • Unlike practices of economic colonization seen elsewhere, India rejects the notion of luring smaller countries into debt traps for strategic gain.
  • Instead, India advocates for a more trustworthy and humane approach in aiding its smaller neighbors, even if it may result in inefficiencies.


  • The joint development of infrastructure on Agaléga Island marks a significant milestone in India-Mauritius relations and underscores India’s commitment to regional stability and cooperation.
  • The project not only benefits Mauritius but also strengthens India’s position as a reliable and trusted partner in the Indian Ocean Region.

Sharing is caring!

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *