Despite this matter being presented in the majority of press outlets as a case of a neo-colonial transgression of Mauritian sovereignty and even of indigenous people, presenting it this way is a complete misconception of the region's history and the situation at large. The Chagos Archipelago is an island and atoll chain south of the Maldives; formerly part of the Seychelles and over 1000km away from Mauritius. Mauritius itself, like Chagos and Seychelles, was uninhabited before its first recorded visit by the Dutch in the late 16th century, these islands are colonial discoveries and colonial projects, and there are therefore no indigenous people to this region, barring the Maldives.
The UK has exercised sovereignty over the Chagos Islands since the 1800s, when they were ceded to Britain by treaty after Napoleon's defeat in 1814. In negotiations with Mauritius over the removal of the Chagos Islands from Mauritius and the formation of the British Indian Ocean Territory in the 1960s, Britain and the US expressed interest in maintaining a military base at Diego Garcia, the largest Chagos Island. Negotiations over the sovereignty of Chagos began at the 1965 the Lancaster House Meeting and continued through lengthy tribunals in London, the agreement was along the understanding that "if the need for the facilities on the islands disappeared the islands should be returned to Mauritius" . But the UK has maintained that these were not legally binding agreements and has no status in international law.
The detachment of the entire Chagos Archipelago, as well as the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar and Desroches from the Seychelles, took place when the region was under UK sovereignty and nothing have changed since the establishment of this region as the British Indian Ocean Territory. In this way the British claim to sovereignty over the region makes more sense than Mauritius', historically and legally. The UK maintains that "the base at Diego Garcia serves as an essential hub for global stability, used in operations against terrorism" , so this is less a story of neo-colonialism and more an issue of global security.