An American ballistic missile submarine has visited Diego Garcia, a military base in the Indian Ocean. Prior to visiting Diego Garcia, the submarine had surfaced in the Arabian Sea and participated in a joint, US Strategic Command-led communication exercise to validate emerging and innovative tactics in the Indian Ocean before visiting the base.
In service with the United States Navy, the Ohio-class SSBN is one of the 14 vessels of this class that are equipped with multiple, independently targeted Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles with up to 20 warheads each. A full crew exchange took place at Diego Garcia as well as a replenishment at sea, demonstrating the SSBN force’s readiness and flexibility to remain on patrol for an extended period of time, and the submarine has also conducted a complete crew exchange in Diego Garcia.
Located in the Chagos Archipelago, Diego Garcia is a part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, or BIOT, that is part of the Chagos Archipelago. After Mauritius became a British colony in 1965, the archipelago was separated from Mauritius and become a British overseas territory in 1966. Later on, the British evicted the entire population of the archipelago and leased Diego Garcia to the United States for the purpose of setting up a military base in the Indian Ocean.
In Mauritius, the Chagos Islands have been argued to have been a part of its territory since at least the beginning of the 18th century. The United Kingdom broke the archipelago away from Mauritius in 1965, along with the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar, and Desroches, from Seychelles, to create the British Indian Ocean Territory.
In June 1976, after Seychelles gained independence from the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom returned to the Seychelles the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar, and Desroches, and in November 1965, the UK declared these islands to be an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.
It is important to note that as soon as Mauritius gained independence from the UK in 1968, the United Kingdom refused to return the Chagos Islands to the country. In petitions submitted to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, it claimed that the island was necessary to accommodate the United States’ desire to use certain islands in the Indian Ocean for defence purposes.