See inside Diego Garcia, a secretive US Navy base on British land at the center of a bitter tug-of-war in the Indian Ocean
- In 1966, the UK leased the US the remote, 17-square-mile Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.
- Diego Garcia is now one a key US military bases in the region, and is used as a launchpad for Air Force missions in the Middle East.
- Around 5,000 service personnel and contractors are based on Diego Garcia, which has a bowling alley, burger bar and stores.
- The British government evicted thousands of islanders from their homes on Diego Garcia and the surrounding area to make way for the base.
- The UN's top court recently ruled that the British illegally gained possession of the islands in 1965, placing the future status of the base in doubt.
On the remote tropical island of Diego Garcia, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, lies a secretive, strategically vital US military base
The base has served as a launchpad for US military operations in the Middle East, as a refuelling point for Air Force patrols headed to the South China Sea, and was even designated an emergency landing spot for space missions by NASA.
But this distant outpost of American power isn't located on US territory. Instead it occupies what was formerly a part of the British Empire - and its former owners after throwing off their imperial rulers want it back.
But a recent ruling from the UN's highest said that Diego Garcia and the islands around it were illegally taken by Britain, and should be returned. Although the ruling is not binding, it has put the future of the base in doubt.
Scroll down to see what the remote installation is like.
Diego Garcia is located in the Indian Ocean's Chagos archipelago, more than 1,000 miles from the nearest continent.
It's is a horseshoe-shaped atoll of about 17 square miles,
Diego Garcia is a tropical island, with white sands and coconut forests, surrounded by azure seas.
An estimated 3,000 to 5,0000 service personnel from are stationed at the base, mostly US with a few from the UK.
The "downtown" area of Diego Garcia is like a small American town.
Diego Garcia has been the site of important military action by the US.
Diego Garcia has a two mile-long runway capable of hosting B-1, B-2, and B52 bombers.
The base is also vital as a refuelling point for the US Navy and Air Force.
With Diego Garcia only accessible to restricted US military personnel, its secrecy has attracted speculation.
Between 1967 and 1973, the British evicted the entire population of the Chagos islands — known as the Ilois — to make way for the US airbase.
British rule is illegal says UN
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