Assumption Island


Assumption Island is a small island in the Outer Islands of Seychelles north of Madagascar, 1,135 km (705 mi) south-west of the capital, Victoria, on Mahé Island. In 2018, Seychelles and India signed an agreement to build and operate a joint military facility on a portion of the island, which the National Assembly of Seychelles refuted the agreement and deemed after protestation by the citizens of Seychelles. As protests continued, the Seychellois president endorsed the Assumption Island deal with India.[1][2][3] The plan caused public protests by activists who believed that the islands should stay out of the brewing India-China regional conflict. The agreement was declared "dead" by the Island's opposition party.[4]

Assumption Island
Nickname: Île de l'Assomption
Assumption Island Seychelles.jpg
Assumption Island
Assumption Island is located in Seychelles
Assumption Island
Assumption Island
Location of Assumption Island in Seychelles
LocationIndian Ocean
Coordinates09°45′S 46°29′E / 9.750°S 46.483°E / -9.750; 46.483Coordinates: 09°45′S 46°29′E / 9.750°S 46.483°E / -9.750; 46.483
Adjacent bodies of waterIndian Ocean
Total islands1
Major islands
  • Assumption
Area11.60 km2 (4.48 sq mi)
Length6.7 km (4.16 mi)
Width2.9 km (1.8 mi)
Coastline17.23 km (10.706 mi)
Highest elevation32 m (105 ft)
Highest pointsoutheast hill
Seychelles (leased by India)
GroupOuter Islands
Sub-GroupAldabra Group
DistrictsOuter Islands District
Largest settlementAssumption (pop. 20)
Population20 (2016)
Pop. density1.7/km2 (4.4/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsCreole, French, East Africans, Indians.
Additional information
Time zone
ISO codeSC-26


Assumption Island was discovered by Captain Nicolas Morphey on 14 August 1756, and was named after the religious feast of the next day. In 1908, the island was leased to Mr H. Savy of Mahé, who built a coconut plantation there. The first settlement was in the northern part of the island.[5] During a visit two years later, he realized the guano potential of the island. The villagers transferred their labor force to guano mining camp that operated from 1907 until 1983. The camp was the location of the current village. Later, the villagers were employed as fishermen, usually of bêche-de-mer, until it was declared protected. In the mid 1960s, the island was proposed as an American military base, including a deep sea port. After strong protests from environmental organizations, this plan was rejected. In 1990, the airfield was built.[6]


Assumption Island is located about 27 km south of Anse Takamaka on Aldabra Atoll and is part of the Aldabra Group. It is a single coral island 11.6 km2 (4.5 sq mi) in area. The western shore features an almost uninterrupted sandy beach 5.5 km. Two large sand dunes are prominent on the southeastern coast of the island, one of them 32 metres (105 ft) high.[7] The 5.5 km, white, sandy beach that stretches on the southeastern side of the island has been several times named 'the best beach in the world' for its white sand, crystalline waters, diversity of marine life and lack of crowds. Due to the disruptive effect of guano mining which lasted until 1983, the island is dominated by expanses of bare rock and caves, and is sparsely covered with low-growing vegetation.


The island belongs to the Outer Islands District.[8]


The island is bisected by a 1,210 metres (3,970 ft) concrete airfield (ICAO: FSAS) running between the two sand dunes on the southeast point to the village on the western coast. The island is occasionally serviced by an Island Development Company (IDC) aircraft from Mahé,[9] usually with scientists which have a boat take them to Aldabra Atoll.[10] The island has a small port called St. Thomas Anchorage, which is currently enlarged by the Indian Army to a large port.[11]

Joint Military FacilityEdit

Assumption Island Airport
Airport typePrivate
OperatorIslands Development Corporation (IDC)[12]
LocationAssumption Island, Seychelles, Africa
Built1989–1990; Major extensions 2015–2016
In use1990–present
Elevation AMSL10 ft / 3 m
Coordinates9°44′32″S 46°30′24″E / 9.74222°S 46.50667°E / -9.74222; 46.50667
Assumption Island Airstrip
Location of Assumption Island
Assumption Island Airstrip
Assumption Island Airstrip (Indian Ocean)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
13/31 1,210 Concrete

In 2015, Seychelles and India signed an agreement for constructing and operating joint military facility on the Island.[13][14][15][16] A coast surveillance radar system built by support from India became operational in 2016.[17][18] A revised agreement was signed in 2018 and the Seychelles President has endorsed its ratification.[19] The Government of India has also stated that this was a joint project on the request of the Seychelles government and would be jointly managed by both countries.[20] India plans to invest $550 million in building the facility.[21] Recently, the deal for an Indian military base in Seychelles was declared as ‘dead’ by the Island's opposition party. The leader of the opposition also clearly stated that this was the end of the ‘assumption agreement’ and no further discussions on India's military base were on the agenda.[22]

Flora and faunaEdit

Assumption Island was once home to a great diversity of seabirds, including the Abbott's booby,[23] which is now confined to a single breeding island: Christmas Island, in the eastern Indian Ocean. Efforts are now underway by the Seychelles Islands Foundation, in conjunction with Island Conservation Society and the Islands Development Company, to restore the habitat of the island. The first successful step in this process was the removal of invasive, introduced bird species, Madagascar fody and red-whiskered bulbul.[24] A notable feature of this island is the Assumption Island day gecko, a subspecies of gecko found only on this island. An endemic race of souimanga sunbird once bred on the island.[25] The nature documentary of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Louis Malle, The Silent World was partially shot on Assumption.[26] The island is known for its rich fish life.[citation needed]

Image galleryEdit


  1. ^ Bhattacherjee, Kallol (23 December 2015). "'Seychelles committed to Indian naval base'". The Hindu.
  2. ^ "Asia's scramble for Africa". The Economist. 13 August 2016.
  3. ^ "India to form its first Naval Base in Seychelles to tighten vigil over Indian Ocean: Read to know more : Current Affairs".
  4. ^ Desk, EurAsian Times (22 March 2018). "Is China Against the Expansion of Indian Military Base in Seychelles?". EurAsian Times: Latest Asian, Middle-East, EurAsian, Indian News. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  5. ^ Atoll research bulletin
  6. ^ "Welcome to the Official Destination Website for the Seychelles Islands – Assumption".
  7. ^ This sand dune is much lower today, as it is being dredged for the airport expansion by India and construction of the new naval base
  8. ^ District map
  9. ^ "Aldabra Atoll + Islands". 19 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Seychelles Islands Foundation".
  11. ^ Port info
  12. ^ "Islands Development Corporation". Archived from the original on 12 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  13. ^ "India begins infrastructure work on Assumption Island of Seychelles". Business Standard. IANS. 26 August 2015.
  14. ^ Bhattacherjee, Kallol (23 December 2015). "'Seychelles committed to Indian naval base'". The Hindu.
  15. ^ "Asia's scramble for Africa". The Economist. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  16. ^ Laurence, Daniel (16 February 2018). Bonnelame, Betymie (ed.). "Military agreement will benefit both Seychelles and India, high commissioner says". Seychelles News Agency. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  17. ^ Bonnelame, Betymie (22 March 2018). "New coastal radar system means better safeguards for Seychelles, official says". Seychelles News Agency. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  18. ^ Article 03.2016
  19. ^ "As Protests Continue, Seychelles President Endorses Assumption Island Deal With India – South Asia Journal". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Assumption Island Project in Seychelles is a joint project: MEA". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Planned Indian military base stirs Seychelles controversy". The Indian Express. 3 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Is China Against the Expansion of Indian Military Base in Seychelles?". 22 March 2018.
  23. ^ Administrator, IDC. "Flora and Fauna – Assumption Island". Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  24. ^ "Eradication success – Seychelles wins war against invasive red-whiskered bulbul".
  25. ^ "Other outer islands". Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  26. ^ Island guide Archived 2016-04-13 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit

  • National Bureau of Statistics
  • [1]
  • Gallery of Aldabra and Assumption