the island of Mauritius declared environmental emergency due to oil spill crisis caused by Japanese owned ship that was stranded off the coast days ago. The MV Wakashio of Japanese companies Nagashiki Shipping Ltd and Okiyo Maritime Corporation was on its way from Brazil to Singapore carrying 4 thousand tonnes of fuel. The ship ran aground on 25 July 2020.
The cracks that appeared on the ship hull caused the oil spill and has put around 1 to 3 million residents in the island nation to danger. The Mauritius Govt has appealed to the French Govt for help.
Why France for help?
The French Island of Reunion (in the Indian Ocean) is the closest to Mauritius. The Island of Reunion is a major military base of France in the Indian Ocean. In March 2020, India conducted joint patrols with the French Navy, CORPAT (Coordinated Patrols) for the first time from the Reunion Island .
Mauritius is a part of security grid of India including Coastal Surveillance Radar (CSR). The Head of Mauritian National Security Advisor and Mauritius Navy are Indian Officers. India has several Free Trade Agreements with Mauritius.
It includes enhanced exclusive economic zone surveillance and anti-piracy operations to prevent intrusions by potential economic offenders including illegal poaching, fishing, human trafficking and drugs. Mauritius is one of the top sources of Foreign Direct Investment for India. India receives $15-16 billion of foreign direct investment from Mauritius.
The bilateral relation with the island nation is important for India for its strategic location in the Indian Ocean Region.
India in the Indian Ocean
To counter Chinese strategy of “String of Pearls” in the Indian Ocean, India is exerting itself in the same region through agreements with France, Unite States of America and Australia to take advantage of their bases in Reunion and Cocos Islands (Australia).
Agaelga Island of Mauritius
The Agalega Islands of Mauritius has been leased to the Indian military for development of strategic assets. The island is located to the north of Mauritius island.
Mauritius declares emergency over oil spill crisis Mauritius declares emergency over oil spill crisis