Indian President Ram Nath Kovind became the first Indian head of state to visit the tiny enclave nation of Djibouti. Djibouti recently became host to China’s first Indian Ocean military base, but reflecting its strategic location at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden it is also home to bases by France, the United States and Japan.

Lonely Planet, however, has listed it as one of the top tourist destinations of 2018. This is because of Djibouti’s unusual geology. Says Lonely Planet, “this petite nation is in the process of being ripped in three by diverging tectonic plates. Magma seethes beneath ever-thinning crust; Martian-like deserts spew steam from fumaroles; and sunken lake shores glisten with huge salt crystals.”

Among the tourist highlights: Lake Assal, the second saltiest body of water in the world, and among the world’s best locations to swim among giant but harmless whale sharks. However, other than the military bases, Djibouti is somewhat lacking in infrastructure. 


October 30, 2017

About the Author

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri writes on political, security, and economic issues. He previously wrote for the Statesman and the Telegraph in Calcutta. He served on the National Security Advisory Board of the Indian government from 2011-2015. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the Asia Society Global Council, the Aspen Institute Italia, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and the Mont Pelerin Society. Pramit is also a senior associate of Rhodium Group, New York City, advisor to the Bower Group Asia in India, a member of the Council on Emerging Markets, Washington, DC, and a delegate for the Confederation of Indian Industry-Aspen Strategy Group Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and the Ananta Aspen Strategic Dialogues with Japan, China and Israel. Born in 1964, he has visited over fifty countries on five continents. Mr. Pal Chaudhuri is a history graduate from Cornell University.