NEELKANTH DULLOO

The current Prime Minister should have been properly advised not to adopt a partisan attitude towards the historical battle for Chagos.  He and his party were not the only ones negotiating for Chagos, but it was the Republic of Mauritius that was negotiating and has been doing so for decades.

In strengthening the diplomatic talks on Chagos, the Prime Minister of the former regime did the following:

(1)Meeting with Sir John Major.

(2)Meeting with Tony Blair.

(3)Meetings with Gordon Brown.

(4)Meeting with David Cameron.

The meeting with Prime Minister Sir John Major at 10 Downing Street was shortly after the December 1995 elections with the ultimate objective of discussing a new Treaty.

Shortly after the July 2005 elections, Navin Ramgoolam met with Prime Minister Tony Blair and proposed discussions on a formal Treaty over the use of Diego Garcia Island as a military base by the US. Discussions and bilateral meetings were held between the then Minister of External Affairs and International Trade, Madan Dulloo and Jack Straw, the then UK Foreign Secretary.

In June 2008 at 10 Downing Street and in November 2009, Dr. Ramgoolam discussed the Chagos issue with Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It was then that he was solicited through ‘quiet diplomacy’ to make Sri Lanka change its stand on hosting Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

In February 2009 at the 57th National Prayer Breakfast Meeting in Washington, Dr. Ramgoolam informed US authorities of our stand on the Chagos and enlisted their support for an amicable settlement of the long-standing and legitimate claim of our Republic on the sovereignty over the Archipelago.

In June 2012 at 10 Downing Street, he met with Prime Minister David Cameron. After their discussions, The Guardian wrote in the following terms: “The UK has a great opportunity based on realpolitik and human rights to restore the Chagos archipelago to its rightful owner. The wind of change is blowing through this continent said British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan when he addressed the South African Parliament  in Cape Town February 1960.  « Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. »  On Friday, that wind changed direction and blew across the Indian Ocean when another Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, met his Mauritian counterpart, Navin Ramgoolam, for a 30-minute meeting at 10 Downing Street, which focused on the sovereignty of the disputed Chagos archipelago.”