Bassas da India, located at 21°30'S, 39°50'E, form an uninhabited group of Indian Ocean islands off the southern coast of Africa in the southern Mozambique Channel, about half-way between Madagascar and Mozambique. Their surface area totals 0.2 km², with a combined coastline 35.2 km in length.
They have since 1897 been a possession of France and administered by a high commissioner of the French Republic, resident in La Réunion, since 1968. They are claimed by Madagascar. Defence is the responsibility of France. The islands are a maritime hazard since they are usually under water during high tide (highest point is only 2.4 m) and surrounded by reefs. They are also subject to periodic cyclones.
The islands are part of an atoll and emerge from a circular reef that sits atop a long-extinct, submerged volcano. Their terrain consists wholly of volcanic rock. The local climate is tropical. The islands have no ports and harbours, only offshore anchorages, and no agricultural and economic activity.