In the days when the sun shone unblinkingly on empire, the path of Britain's lifeline to Australia and the Far East was studded with steppingstones in the form of British bases. Since World War II, the demands of Asian neutralism and nationalism have gobbled up one British naval or air station after another in the Indian Ocean area until only two remain between Africa and Singapore, both in the Dominion of Ceylon, and both now doomed like the others to be sacrificed to local nationalism.

Last week Britain announced plans for a new...

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