Kabari99-During talks to hand islands to Mauritius as Republicans warn of growing.
The British foreign secretary said on Wednesday he had assured his US counterpart that any deal to hand over the Indian Ocean island chain to Mauritius would ensure that American military operations could continue at the base on Diego Garcia in an ‘unfettered’ manner.
Also read on:Trump’s lawyers dispute over classified documents
London is negotiating the handover of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius,
allowing the return of islanders displaced decades ago as part of a deal to set up a military base.
While the facility would remain under any deal, Republicans have warned that nothing would prevent China from carrying out surveillance operations on the neighboring island.
James Cleverly, the UK foreign secretary, told DailyMail.com he had promised Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken he understood the importance of the base.
“They know that I understand very well how important the operation on Diego Garcia is, and they know that we will really protect them,” he said shortly before flying out of the US back to London.
Also read on:Kaizen Berkesinambungan dalam Project Management
he declined to elaborate on how China’s encroaching influence would be prevented, citing the importance of keeping the negotiations secret.
The islands have been at the center of a long dispute and any agreement is designed to reverse historical wrongs.
England claimed the islands from France in the nineteenth century. But in the 1960s and 1970s, the locals were removed to make way for a base on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the chain.
The former resident has been campaigning ever since for the right to return.
Four years ago, the International Court of Justice,
the UN’s highest court, ruled that British control of the islands was illegal and that they were part of Mauritius.
Last year, Cleverly announced that talks about the future of the islands had begun.
The base, which is leased to the US, is an important outpost for African, Asian and Middle Eastern missions. And it has played a role in conflicts and emergencies from the Iranian Revolution to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Concerns for his future,
raised by Rep. Mike Waltz, a former Green Beret who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness subcommittee,
focused on China’s developing economic ties with Mauritius as it seeks to expand its reach in the Indian Ocean.
“The Department of Defense shares your concern about the People’s Republic of China’s
interest in deepening relations with Mauritius and the East African littoral states that form the westernmost border of the Indian Ocean,”
wrote Colin Kahl, deputy defense minister, in a letter shared with DailyMail.com earlier this year.
Astutely telling the future of the base on Diego Garcia is a key part of the negotiations.