Agaléga: Where Mauritius reneged its pledge to its own people

Agaléga is where Mauritius has simply abandoned its virtues: One of which is to look into the interest of its own people.

The country has simply placed money ahead to reneged its pledge to protect the three hundred people living on this small archipelago.

They are forced to watch while their home is turned slowly into an Indian naval base, and there is little they can do to stop it.

The Pravind Jugnauth regime will not budge. It is apparently doing that to please India.

In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Mauritian counterpart Anerood Jugnauth watched as Navtej Sarna (Ministry of External Affairs) and Sateeaved Seebaluck (Cabinet Secretary, Mauritius) signed an agreement that allows India to “develop infrastructure” on the islands, wrote the Hindu.

The phrase is a euphemism for the building of military bases, which India is doing not only on Agaléga but also on Assumption Island (Seychelles),” it said. Not so much the Seychelles Island though.

Since then, India has lost its clout over the Assumption Island. The Seychelles opposition 

And today, India suffered a major setback after the island nation of Seychelles denied New Delhi the permission to build a military base.

The President said the Assumption project will not move forward, nor will the Indian plan for a military base there be part of the agenda of talks between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He is visiting India around June 25-26.

The decision comes as India made a flurry of diplomatic moves.

This includes a quiet visit by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, to Seychelles on May 14-15 to try and save the deal on the military base, said Asian Age.

The Seychelles government was forced to abandon the India deal after Opposition leader back peddled on an earlier accord.

The Asian Age said the mouthpiece of Seychelles’ ruling People’s Party (Parti Lepep) had hinted at sabotage by the Opposition party in a May 26 editorial.

“After indicating in India that he supported the project, Opposition leader Wavel Ramkalawan made a U-turn and said that the Seychelles-India agreement is ‘dead’,” said the government paper.

But Mauritius is not Seychelles. The government of Mauritius has hesitated. It does not want to offend India, which is slowly abandoning its Indian Ocean strategy.

The reason for India not to put much effort in the region is due to China’s push in the region.

India has simply lost the fight against China and being a small player in the Indian Ocean, New Delhi has no choice but to pull back.

However, Port Louis is not ready to let go of India’s plans for a military base on Agalega.

“The government of Mauritius knows that there is far more to be gained from India than from the people of Agaléga. Mauritius is one of the main routes for foreign direct investment (FDI) into India.

“It earns Mauritius a considerable fortune in fees — money that is enough for Mauritius to renege on its pledge to its own citizens,” wrote the Hindu in its June 4th online edition.

China has built significant relations across the Indian Ocean, from Gwadar (Pakistan) to Hambantota (Sri Lanka) to Kyaukpyu (Myanmar) and even in Mauritius where it occupies the Jin Fei.

“A rattled India wants to exert itself in the same region and has developed reciprocal agreements with Australia, France and the U.S. to take advantage of bases as far-flung as Cocos Islands (Australia) and La Réunion (France).”

True it is that Sir Aneerood Jugnauth left the office of the Prime Minister not long after he oversaw the deal over Agaléga.

Since then, he postulated himself as a fierce defender of the rights of Chagos, the islands that house Diego Garcia.

When Chagos was taken by the British, Jugnauth’s predecessor, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, had essentially given up the island to win independence for Mauritius – The Hindu.

Mr. Jugnauth has done the same with Agaléga, forfeiting it to India, says the newspaper.

India, which championed the zone of peace concept at Lusaka, has now fallen into old colonial habits, it said.

“In a decade or so, the people of Agaléga will take their case, like the Chagosians, to the UN General Assembly. Like them, they will ask for their rights. India, like Great Britain, will then be in the dock.”

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