British Indian - Phone Numbers
Calling code + 246
Internet domain name for the country (TLD) - .io
British Indian Ocean Territory
Flag  - Coat  - a>
(and largest city) - Diego Garcia
Official language(s) English
Government : - British Overseas Territory - Queen HM Queen Elizabeth II
Commissioner of the British Indian Ocean Territory : Colin Roberts 2010
Administrator of the British Indian Ocean Territory : Joanne Yeadon
Created - 1965
Area Total : 60 km (n/a)
23.2 (sq mi)
Water (%) - 99.89
Population : estimate - 4,000 - (n/a - Density : 58.3/km (n/a)
160.0/sq mi
Currency : - US dollar - (USD)
Time zone : - (UTC) +6
Drives on the - right
The British Indian Ocean Territory ( BIOT ) or Chagos Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean, halfway between Africa and Indonesia. The territory comprises the six atolls of the Chagos Archipelago (Phehandweep फेहंद्वीप - in Hindi and other North Indian languages, Paeikaana Theevukal பேகான தீவுகள் - in Tamil, Feyhandheebu ފޭހަންދީބު - in Dhivehi) with over 1,000 individual islands (many tiny) having a total land area of 60 square kilometres (23 (sq mi). -
The largest island is Diego Garcia (area 44 km), the site of a joint military facility of the United Kingdom and the United States. Following the eviction of the native population in the 1960s, the only inhabitants are US and UK military personnel and associated contractors, who collectively number around 4,000 (2004 figures).
Territory of the United Kingdom
Map of the British Indian Ocean Territory since 1976
Geography of British Indian Ocean Territory
The territory is an archipelago of 55 islands, the largest being Diego Garcia, accounting for almost three-quarters of the total land area of the territory, which is 60 km². The terrain is flat and low, with most areas not exceeding 2 metres above sea level. The climate is tropical marine; hot, humid, and moderated by trade winds.
With the exception of one two-lane motorway,clarification needed ] most of the islands in the territory have no roads of any sort. Diego Garcia has a short stretch of paved road between the port and airfield; otherwise most transport is by bicycle.
Diego Garcia's military base is home to the territory's only airport (one paved runway over 3000 metres long), capable of operating very heavy USAF bombers like the B-52 and the Space Shuttle if ever required in a mission abort, and only one major seaport.
- Demographics
The total population was reported at 4,000 in 2006. According to the 2000 census, Christianity is the majority religion with 45.55% of the population adhering to it. Communities of Hindus (38.55%) and Muslims (9.25%) also exist.
- Economy
All economic activity is concentrated on Diego Garcia, where joint UK-US defence facilities are located. Approximately 2,000 native inhabitants, known as the Chagossians or Ilois, were forcibly relocated to Mauritius before construction of these facilities; in 1995, there were approximately 1,700 UK and US military personnel and 1,500 civilian contractors living on the island.
Construction projects and various services needed to support the military installations are carried out by military and contract employees from the UK, Mauritius, the Philippines, and the US. There are no industrial or agricultural activities on the islands. The licensing of commercial fishing provides an annual income of about $1 million for the territory. - 15 ] - -
Separate telephone facilities for military and public needs are available, providing all standard commercial telephone services, including connection to the Internet. International telephone service is carried by communications satellite. The territory has three radio broadcast stations, one AM and two FM, and one television broadcast station. Because of its equatorial location,clarification needed ]Diego Garcia can use geosynchronous satellites over the Indian Ocean and also some over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Fairly active amateur radio operations occur from Diego Garcia, using the British callsign prefix VQ9.
Postage stamps have been issued for British Indian Ocean Territory since 17 January 1968. Since the territory was originally part of the Seychelles, these stamps were denominated in rupees until 1992. However, after 1992 they became denominated in pounds sterling which is the official currency of the territory. ]
  • Foreign Affairs Committee (6 July 2008). Seventh Report - Overseas Territories . House of Commons. p. 125. -
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    Paradise regained - for a few days". BBC News . 3 April 2006.
    AFP: Britain wins appeal over Chagos islanders' return home
    House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 21 Jun 2004 (pt 13)
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    The Chagos Conservation Trust - A non-political charity whose aims are to promote conservation, scientific and historical research, and to advance education concerning the archipelago.
    Diego Garcia Online: Information for the Diego Garcia, BIOT population.
    UK Foreign Office- profile
    British Indian Ocean Territory entry at The World Factbook
    Diego Garcia timeline posted at the History Commons
    US Military Site on Diego Garcia
    A Return from Exile in Sight? The Chagossians and their Struggle, from the Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights
    EU Relations with British Indian Ocean Territory Chagos Islands (B.I.O.T.) at Britlink - British Islands and Territories]
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