The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean halfway between Tanzania and Indonesia. The territory comprises the seven atolls of the Chagos Archipelago with over 1,000 individual islands – many very small – amounting to a total land area of 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi). The largest and most southerly island is Diego Garcia, 44 km2 (17 sq mi), the site of a joint military facility of the United Kingdom and the United States.
The only inhabitants are US and British military personnel and associated contractors, who collectively number around 2,500 (2012 figures). The removal of Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago occurred between 1968 and 1973. The Chagossians, then numbering about 2,000 people, were expelled by the British government to Mauritius and Seychelles to allow the United States to build a military base there. Today, the exiled Chagossians are still trying to return, arguing that the forced ...
expulsion and dispossession was illegal. The islands are off-limits to casual tourists, the media, and their former inhabitants.
Mauritius has sought to gain control over the Chagos Archipelago, which was separated from its territory by the U.K. in 1965 to form the British Indian Ocean Territory
On 23 June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favour of referring the territorial dispute between Mauritius and the UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to clarify the legal status of the Chagos Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The motion was approved by a majority vote with 94 voting for and 15 against.
The British Indian Ocean Territory is one of only two British territories where traffic drives on the right, the other being Gibraltar.