Admiral Lord West Warns Against Surrendering Chagos Islands to China Ally
Former head of the Navy, Admiral Lord West, has issued a strong warning against surrendering the Chagos Islands to an ally of China.
Lord West expressed concerns that such a move would have severe implications for the UK’s strategic interests.
His remarks follow Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s assertion that abandoning the Chagos Islands would be a “spineless” decision.
Talks with Mauritius and Transfer of Sovereignty
Negotiations with Mauritius have been ongoing since last year, with the aim of transferring sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory, which includes the Chagos Islands.
Of particular significance is Diego Garcia, which hosts an Anglo-American military base often referred to as “the unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean.”
This base has played critical roles in past military operations, including the liberation of Kuwait during the first Gulf War, the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, and the Iraq War in 2003.
A Risk to Strategic Interests
Admiral Lord West firmly believes that relinquishing control of the Chagos Islands would work in favor of China’s interests.
In a foreword for Policy Exchange, he expressed his concerns, labeling the act as “irresponsible” and warning that it would jeopardize both the UK’s and its closest allies’ strategic interests.
He argued that it would also recklessly undermine fundamental principles of international law.
The Threat of Chinese Influence
Lord West raised alarm about the potential for China to influence Mauritius into claiming Diego Garcia and gaining control over its port and airfield.
He pointed to the 47 official Chinese development finance projects on the island.
Lord West supported a report from the think tank urging the UK government to halt negotiations with Mauritius.
Defending UK Sovereignty
Richard Ekins, head of the Judicial Power Project at the think tank, called on politicians to defend UK sovereignty over the Chagos Islands.
Foreign Office sources denied reports of tensions with the US over the talks and stressed that Diego Garcia would not be part of the negotiations.
The Foreign Office emphasized that the UK and Mauritius have reiterated their commitment to ensuring the continued effective operation of the joint UK-US military base on Diego Garcia.
This base plays a vital role in regional and global security.
Admiral Lord West’s warning underscores the complex geopolitical issues surrounding the Chagos Islands.
The involvement of China in the region adds another layer of complexity, especially given the strategic significance of Diego Garcia.
The ongoing negotiations between the UK and Mauritius continue to be a topic of international concern, and the outcome will likely have far-reaching implications for the region’s security and geopolitics.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn