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Image of the Day : Diego Garcia

by Santosh Singh

The Chagos Archipelago, also known as the Chagos Islands, is a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, the largest of which is Diego Garcia. The islands forming the Chagos Archipelago are administered by the United Kingdom as the British Indian Ocean Territory (the “BIOT”).

Landsat Satellite image of Diego Garcia
Landsat Satellite image of Diego Garcia Islands. Image credit: NASA/USGS

The US Navy operates Naval Support Facility (NSF) Diego Garcia, a large naval ship and submarine support base, military air base, communications and space-tracking facility, and an anchorage for pre-positioned military supplies for regional operations aboard Military Sealift Command ships in the lagoon.

Chagos islands were emptied of their 1500 native inhabitants during late Sixties and early Seventies by the government of United Kingdom and Northern Island to pave the way for a US military base. These people, known at the time as the Ilois; are today known as Chagos Islanders or Chagossians. Mauritius  the original administrator of these islands has long disputed the hold of UK and US over these atolls. As reported by The Guardian, ‘The legal battle, begun more than two years ago, raises fundamental questions about who has sovereignty over the Indian Ocean territory. Mauritian government officials believe it could lead to the unravelling of Britain’s disputed claim and the eventual return of the islanders.’

It also said ”The unexpected ruling this month by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that it can hear the case is a challenge to the UK’s unilateral declaration in 2009 of a marine protected area around the Chagos Islands.

Decisions by the tribunal, which arbitrates in disputes over the United Nations law of the sea, are binding on the UK. At the preliminary hearing the UK’s attempt to challenge the court’s jurisdiction was defeated. Britain is now obliged to explain highly sensitive political decisions dating back to 1965.”

We leave you with another image of Diego Island captured by Ikonos satellite of GeoEye(Then Space Imaging).

Ikonos Satellite image of Diego Island
Ikonos satellite image of Camp Justice (Diego Garcia). Name seems ironic in light of recent allegations of illegal occupation of the island by the UK and expulsion of native inhabitants to Seychelles and Mauritius.
Image Credit: GeoEye/Space Imaging. Courtesy of SATPALDA Geospatial Services

SATPALDA is a privately owned company and a leading provider of satellite imagery and GeoSpatial services to the user community. Established in 2002, SATPALDA has successfully completed wide range of photogrammetric and Remote Sensing Projects.

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