By Assad Bhuglah
The economic health and survival of Mauritius are intricately linked with maritime security in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius, which nourishes the ambition of becoming a regional maritime hub, critically needs an ocean free of conflicts and piracy.
For millennia the peoples living around the Indian Ocean have benefited from its rich trade, while the interaction resulting from these maritime exploits invariably influenced their lives fundamentally. These traditional patterns of trade and communication changed drastically when first the Portuguese and then other European powers began sailing around the Cape of Good Hope to establish trade links and empires in the East. The Indian Ocean became a platform for power rivalry and conflicts among European naval forces. However, during the course of the 19th century, European navies played an important role in maintaining good order at sea, eradicating piracy and countering slavery.