Satellite imagery, financial data and on-the-ground evidence obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit point to India building a naval facility on the remote Mauritian island of Agaléga. Military experts who have analysed Al Jazeera’s evidence say an airstrip under construction will almost certainly be used for maritime patrol missions by India’s navy. Rumours and media reports about the military base first surfaced in 2018 but both Mauritius and India have denied that the construction project is for military purposes and say the infrastructure is only to benefit the islanders. Satellite pictures reveal how Agaléga, located about 1,100km from Mauritius’ main island and home to about 300 people, is seeing the construction of two large jetties and a runway that is more than 3km long. “It’s an intelligence facility for India to stage air and naval presence in order to increase surveillance in the wider southwest Indian Ocean and Mozambique channel,” Abhishek Mishra, associate fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) think-tank in New Delhi told Al Jazeera. Countering China’s expansion into the Indian Ocean seems to be India’s main goal for the facility, as it wants to provide a counterweight to China’s rising power.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA