Jonathan Hunt says most of the islands are uninhabitable and Paul Tattam says there is a risk of China playing Britain at its own game of gunboat diplomacy

Britain has rightly been criticised by the international court for its appalling treatment of former inhabitants of the Chagos archipelago almost 50 years ago (Britain ordered to return Chagos Islands to Mauritius, 26 February). But the court displays little knowledge of the situation today. All but Diego Garcia and just one of the larger islands (30 out of 50) are infested with rats and uninhabitable. Billions would be required to restore them to a condition able to support significant populations.

A poor country like Mauritius could never afford even a fraction of the cost. The ecological danger to the planet is that Mauritius would flog off Chagos’s fishing rights to Japanese and other commercial operators, as it did with its own rights.

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