What is India's planned military base at Seychelles?
India is planning to build a military base on an outlying Seychelles island. The base on Assumption Island would be funded by India and shared by militaries of two countries.
India plans to invest $550 million dollars in building the base to ensure the safety of its vessels in the southern Indian Ocean. The base will also be a resource for other shipping nations. This is in accordance with the new strategy of India to be a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region.
Currently the Assumption Island which is a coral island has a tin shack post office, an air strip and almost no people. It is less than seven kilometers long. It has a high point just 30 meters (100 feet) above sea level and is covered in bird excrement. But its location lends it strategic importance for monitoring shipping in the Mozambique Channel.
Even though the proposal has won the favour among the archipelago nation’s politicians it is facing some hostility from the people. Some fear an influx of Indian workers who might dominate the economy, while others consider a foreign power building a military base an affront to sovereignty and national pride. Opponents of the plan also cite Assumption’s relative proximity to Aldabra atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises. Environmentalists worry about the possible impact of a large military presence close to an ecosystem that has survived precisely because of the absence of people.
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