In Rare Announcement, US Says Its Nuclear Submarine Visited Indian Ocean Military Base In Diego Garcia In October

In Rare Announcement, US Says Its Nuclear Submarine Visited Indian Ocean Military Base In Diego Garcia In October

by Swarajya Staff - Dec 4, 2022 12:29 PM +05:30 IST
In Rare Announcement, US Says Its Nuclear Submarine Visited Indian Ocean Military Base In Diego Garcia In OctoberUSS West Virginia visits Diego Garcia during extended deterrence patrol. (US Strategic Command)

In a rare announcement this week, the United States said its ballistic missile submarine, USS West Virginia, visited its Indian Ocean military base at Diego Garcia in October this year.

The ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) of the US Navy was at the base between 25 and 31 October, the announcement said.

The submarine "stopped in Diego Garcia for a brief port visit...during an extended deterrence patrol providing security and stability to our Allies," the US Strategic Command said in a statement.

Before it visited the base at Diego Garcia, the submarine had surfaced in the Arabian Sea and "participated in a joint, US Strategic Command-directed communications exercise to validate emerging and innovative tactics in the Indian Ocean," the statement added.

One of the 14 Ohio-class SSBNs in service with the US Navy, the boat is capable of carrying up to 20 Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles with multiple, independently targeted warheads.

"The submarine also conducted a complete crew exchange in Diego Garcia and a subsequent replenishment at sea, highlighting the SSBN force's readiness and flexibility to remain on patrol for an extended period of time," the US Strategic Command said.

The development comes at a time when the United Kingdom and Mauritius are moving towards negotiations over the control of the Chagos Islands. Diego Garcia is a part of the Chagos Archipelago, which the UK identifies as British Indian Ocean Territory or BIOT.

In 1965, the archipelago was separated from Mauritius, then a British colony, and made part of the UK's overseas territory. Later, the UK evicted the entire population of the archipelago and leased Diego Garcia to the United States for its Indian Ocean military base.

The dispute over the control of the islands has intensified in recent years. In the last few years, the International Court of Justice, the maritime law tribunal of the United Nations, and the UN General Assembly have sided with Mauritius on the dispute. New Delhi, which is building a military base of its own in Mauritius' Agalega Island, has sided with Port Louis.

However, given the increasing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean, India also wants the US to retain its presence in Diego Garcia. New Delhi is believed to have nudged Mauritius to offer to renew the lease of Diego Garcia to the US if it is able to wrest back sovereignty from the UK.

Some reports say that the island nation has already given the US an offer of a 99-year lease. The US's current lease of Diego Garcia, obtained illegally from the British, is set to expire in 2036.

Also Read: Diego Garcia Dispute In Focus As Prime Ministers Of UK, Mauritius Visit India At The Same Time This Week

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.