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India, Mauritius and Maldives

Why is it in the news?

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth jointly inaugurated an airstrip and jetty on Agaléga, a Mauritian dependency, located approximately 1100 km north of Port Louis and 2500 km southwest of Malé.

More about the news

  • The construction of the airstrip and jetty was part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2015 between India and Mauritius, aimed at enhancing transportation infrastructure on Agaléga.
  • The inauguration underscores India’s commitment to assisting Mauritius in meeting its development goals and strengthening the capabilities of the Mauritian Defence Forces to safeguard their interests in the Outer Island.
Update on India and Maldives Relations

·       Following a request from Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, India agreed to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives, which was initiated after Muizzu’s election victory on the “India Out” platform.

·       Indian technical personnel have been dispatched to the Maldives to replace military personnel, with an agreement in place to withdraw approximately 80 military personnel between March 10 and May 10.

·       The operation of helicopters in Addu, the southernmost atoll of the Maldives, will now be overseen by Indian civilians, as per the bilateral agreement between India and the Maldives.

Significance of Indian Ocean Outposts

  • Both Mauritius and the Maldives hold strategic significance for India’s maritime security and strategic imperatives in the Indian Ocean, particularly in light of increased activities by China in the region.
  • India’s presence in these island nations enables more effective monitoring of Mauritius’ Exclusive Economic Zone and enhances capabilities to counter piracy, terrorism, narcotics, human trafficking, and illegal fishing activities.
  • China’s expanding presence in the Indian Ocean region underscores its strategic interests, as evidenced by its extensive diplomatic, trade, and military engagements in countries such as Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Comoros.

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