Biting the 'cherry of detachment': Agaléga's Cold War decolonisation

Samuel Bashfield, Alexander Lee

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    The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) was created in 1965 to secure a range of Indian Ocean islands for United States and United Kingdom military use. However, despite being situated in the centre of this new Territory, the twin islands of North and South Agaléga were curiously excluded. In light of India’s modern military development of Agaléga, this article examines why British and American planners in 1965 passed over these islands, citing its uncertain strategic utility, the political and financial costs of dismemberment from Mauritius, and Agaléga’s usefulness as a destination for displaced Îlois from the Chagos Archipelago. Using declassified British and American government records, this article uncovers secret Western machinations to secure the Indian Ocean, as Britain was winding down its vast global empire. This article concludes by commenting on India’s modern-day development of Agaléga, articulating some commonalities and divergences compared to American and British Cold War plans.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)535–550
    JournalThe International History Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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