Foreign policy and defense
Due to its historical dependence on France
and Britain, Mauritius has close relations with the
western world. However, a conflict over the Chagos
Islands has created strained relations with
Britain. China and India have become increasingly
important for Mauritius in the last decade, which also
protects contacts with other African countries.
The Chagos Archipelago is located 20 miles northeast
of Mauritius. The archipelago was administered during
the British colonial period by Mauritius. In 1965 it was
transferred by the United Kingdom to the British Indian
Ocean Territory. Since 1966, the British have leased the
largest island, Diego Garcia, to the United States,
which has built a military base there. In conjunction
with the rental of Diego Garcia, the approximately 1,500
residents of the Chagos Islands were forced to move to
Mauritius. The former Chagos residents have since
demanded to return home and to receive damages from the
UK and the US.
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Mauritius for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
In 1982, compensation was paid to the former Chagos,
but several of them have continued to demand that they
be moved back. In 2006, the Supreme Court of the United
Kingdom ruled that the Chagos were entitled to return
home, which the Court of Appeal affirmed the following
year. A year later, however, the British parliament's
House of Lords overturned the verdict after the London
government appealed it.
Disputed nature reserve
In 2010, the United Kingdom made a marine nature
reserve of the Chagos Islands with the aim of protecting
the marine environment around the archipelago. Mauritius
perceived the reserve as an attempt to destroy the
islanders' ability to return, as all fishing was
prohibited when the islands became a protected area. The
Mauritanian government questioned Britain's right to the
sea area extending 200 nautical miles from the islands.
Mauritius has reported the United Kingdom to the United
Nations International Court of Justice in Hamburg.
However, the Court has stated that it does not have
jurisdiction, that is, the right to exercise
jurisdiction and judgment, to decide this, but also
ruled that the United Kingdom followed the rules of the
UN Marine Law Conference Unclos when establishing the
In February 2019, the ICJ recommended that Britain
return the islands to Mauritius as soon as possible. The
Court, which raised the case on behalf of the UN General
Assembly, also states that it was wrong by the British
to force the population to leave the islands. However,
the court's ruling is only advisory (see also Calendar).
During the first decade of the 2000s, ties to the
United States were strengthened, including through an
agreement on increased trade and more US investments in
Mauritius. Cooperation with India and China has also
increased in recent years. In 2006 Mauritius got the
right to export textiles and sugar to India without
duty. In 2017, the countries signed a series of
bilateral agreements, including on cooperation in the
security of the Indian Ocean and Indian loans.
The Chinese government has said it considers
Mauritius a gateway to Africa. In addition to investing
in Chinese companies and workers to establish themselves
in the island, China also contributes to large
investments in infrastructure, such as a new terminal at
the island's international airport. Chinese companies
are in the process of building an economic and trade
cooperation zone. China has also written off some of
Mauritius' debts and talks are underway on a free trade
agreement between the countries.
Mauritius is trying to strengthen its relations with
South Africa and several other African countries.
Regional cooperation has become increasingly important
and is being done, for example, by the African
Cooperation Organizations SADC (South Africa's
Development Community) and Comesa (Eastern and South
Africa's Common Market) and the Commission for the
Indian Ocean (IOC), which is working to strengthen
economic cooperation between island nations. in the
Mauritius has no army of its own. The country's
defense and police and security work is handled by the
police force and the Coast Guard. These units receive
support and education from, among others, the UK.
FACTS - DEFENSE
Military expenditure's share of GDP
0.2 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
0.6 percent (2017)
New trade agreement
Mauritius signs a trade agreement with Pakistan.
The Social Democratic Party PMSD leaves the government.
The right to return is established
The UK Court of Appeal follows the High Court's ruling of May 2006 and states
that the Chagos residents have the right to return home.