In this file photo, a US Air Force B-2 Stealth Bomber takes off from the Diego Garcia Air Base

International judges will hear arguments on September 3, 2018 to examine the fate of the British-ruled Chagos Islands, home to a strategic joint US military base -- now claimed by Mauritius

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: Judges at the United Nations' highest court are listening to arguments in a case focused on the legality of British sovereignty over the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, including Diego Garcia, where the US has a major military base.

Mauritius argues that the Chagos archipelago has been part of its territory since at least the 18th century and was unlawfully taken by the UK in 1965, three years before the island nation gained independence from Britain.

Britain insists it has sovereignty over the archipelago, which it calls the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The UK sealed a deal with the US in 1966 to use the territory for defence purposes.

Washington maintains a forward operating location there for aircraft and ships that contribute to regional and global security.