You are here

Abhishek Gupta asked: Has Mauritius offered the lease of Agalega Islands to the Indian Navy? What does it mean for India?

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • S.S. Parmar replies: There is apparently some confusion on this issue. News papers had reported that the Islands were offered during the visit of Dr. Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of the Republic of Mauritius to India during July 4-7, 2012. However, a press statement by the Mauritian High Commission had stated:

    “In the several interviews given by Minister A. Boolell to the written press, never was the issue of Agalega raised either on a stand-alone basis or as part of a trade-off for the DTA (Double Taxation Avoidance) issue. The issue was also never discussed with the Indian authorities. At no point in time did the Minister refer to any “deal” as mentioned in an article entitled “Mauritius offers India 2 Islands in effort to preserve tax treaty” in today’s edition of “The Times of India”. The said article is erroneous, misleading, false and malicious.”

    There is also no mention of the offer on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs. As per newspaper reports, the issue of handing over of the Islands in 2006 had met with stiff political resistance. The Island offer has been connected with three issues – Firstly, to avoid cancellation of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement; secondly, development as a tourist resort; and thirdly, as a strategic military base. In the first issue, Mauritius has apparently more to gain, and in the second issue – both nations could gain. The third issue would require deft political and diplomatic manoeuvring and India is unlikely to set up a military base for its own use. However, development of a military base for joint operations could be considered.