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Mauritius Defense and Foreign Policy

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.

  • Countryaah: 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.

Defense and Foreign Policy of MauritiusDisputed 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 nature reserve.

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.

Regional cooperation

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 Indian Ocean.

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)

2007

September

New trade agreement

Mauritius signs a trade agreement with Pakistan.

government Resignation

The Social Democratic Party PMSD leaves the government.

May

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.


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