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India and Two Sudan: Strengthening Old Relationship in the New Millenium

India and Two Sudan: Strengthening Old Relationship in the New Millenium

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Published by Mohammed Khalid
DIVINER, Vol.6, No.1, July-Jan 2011
DIVINER, Vol.6, No.1, July-Jan 2011

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Published by: Mohammed Khalid on Nov 26, 2011
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Vol.8.No.1, Jan-June 2011
DIVINER 
A Research Journal of Humanities andSocialSciences
India and Two Sudans: Strengthening Old Relationship inthe New Millennium
Mohammed Khalid*Largest country on African continent till recently, Sudan has been divided into Republic of the Sudan(North Sudan) and the Republic of South Sudan on the 9
th
of June 2011. Both the republics lie in northeasternAfrica. North Sudan covers an area of 1,886,068 sq km and South Sudan about 619,745 sq km. North Sudan is bordered by Egypt to the north, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central AfricanRepublic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. South Sudan is bordered by Ethiopia tothe east; Kenya to the southeast; Uganda to the south; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest;the Central African Republic to the west; and Sudan to the north. While north Sudan has a coastline of 853 kmon the Red Sea, South Sudan has emerged as a land locked country.
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River Nile runs through both the countriesdividing them between east and west. Bordered by seven different countries, North Sudan is a strategic gatewayto many African countries.
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Shipping facilities at its Port Sudan and other ports cater not only to Sudan but also provide overland trade outlets to a number of countries. Due to its geographical importance, every regional aswell as outside power has given Sudan an important place in its regional and global strategy. India too hasalways strived to maintain friendly relations with Sudan. After the division of the country India is ready tocontinue close relationship with both the countries.Since its independence in 1956, Sudan had continuously faced a civil war. Initially between thenorthern and the southern regions, and then the marginalized groups from its each peripheral area entered intoconflict with the central government. They also resented the mindless exploitation of local resources, impositionof religious and cultural beliefs on local tribes and ethnic groups.
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In February 2003, rebels from the westernDarfur region of Sudan also launched an uprising and demanded equal representation in the government andimproved infrastructure in the region. The government retaliated by sending its militias (known as janjaweed),to target the villages of the rebel groups in Darfur region. In this violent situation, roughly three hundredthousand persons died and nearly three million were displaced.
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 According to 2003 estimates combined Sudan had literacy rate of 61.1% and had 19 universitiesincluding a University of Science and Technology set up in 1990. Of these, the Catholic University of Sudanand the University of Juba are located in South Sudan.Mainly rain-fed and susceptible to drought, agriculture is the mainstay of economy in north and southSudan. This sector employs 80% of the workforce and contributes 39% of the GDP. Due to lack of agriculturaldevelopment, much of the population remains below the
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*Associate Professor in Political Science, Dept. of Evening Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh.
 poverty line. Rich mineral resources are available in North Sudan including: petroleum, natural gas, gold,silver, chromites, asbestos, manganese, gypsum, mica, zinc, iron, lead, uranium, copper, kaolin, cobalt,granite, nickel, tin and aluminum. South Sudan too contains many natural resources such as petroleum, ironore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, and hydropower. However, after South Sudan became an independent nation in July 2011, no agreement has reached on how to split the revenue from thesouthern oilfields.
 
Petroleum exploration began in Sudan in the mid-1970s and commercial quantities of oil began to be exported in October 2000, reducing Sudan’s outflow of foreign exchange for imported petroleum products. Oil has emerged as an important commodity exported to Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia, andIndia. Increase in daily oil production (currently at about 520,000 barrels) has revived industry, expandedexport processing and has helped the country to sustain GDP growth at about 6%. Most of the oil fields areoperated by oil consortiums from China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Yemen.
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Gas deposits,detected on Red Sea continental shelves are being drilled.Due to lack of skilled labour force, raw materials, and investments, both the Sudans have a smallindustrial sector. Industry accounted for an estimated 17 percent of GDP in 1998
.
About 80 percent of theindustry is privately-owned. The main industries in erstwhile combined Sudan included tanning and leather  production, weaving and spinning mills, gum arabic production, paper mills, minerals, ores, and rawmaterials extraction. The tannery industry created 6 percent of the country's exports. It produced furs for thefootwear industry, belts, and artificial leather. There were 7 big tanneries, 72 leather factories, and 290traditional manufacturers. Textile industry in the country included government supported weaving andspinning mills. Sudan produces arabic gum (extracted from the resin of Senegalese acacia trees) used infoodstuffs, chemical industry, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and lithography to meet 80 percent of the worldconsumption. Sudan has been the third largest producer of sugar in Africa, after South Africa and Egypt producing more than 450,000 tons every year.
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Traditionally trade deficit, Sudan became trade surplus due tooil exports after 2000. Other exports included oil seeds, sesame, vegetable oil, and sugar cotton, sheep andsome gold. It imports foodstuffs, steel and alloy products, spare parts, audio and video devices, refrigerators,cars, buses and trucks etc. In 2000, Sudan imported about $17 million worth of irrigation materials fromChina. Sudan’s major trading partners include Saudi Arabia, UK, Egypt, Italy, India, France, China, Netherlands and Japan.Both the Sudans are rich in resources but remain poor country and full of starvation. They have very lowindicators on United Nations Human Development Index. Resources have not been properly developed.Corruption in high offices has reportedly been rampant. The battle to control oil resources was one of themajor bones of contention which caused the division of the country. Fighting between the Sudanese ArmedForces (SAF) and the Southern Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) over control of oil resourcesrendered thousands of people homeless and disabled. Many families lost everything fleeing their country'sviolence, drought, or floods in the west and the south of the country.
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Darfur region homing racially mixed peasant tribes were subjected to systematic displacement and
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murders at the hands of government-supported Janjaweed militia. The genocide in Darfur claimed400,000 lives and displaced over 2,500,000 people. These and other such problems have kept Sudanendemically poor and deprived. To end this internecine conflict, a referendum was held from 9 to 15January 2011 to determine if South Sudan should declare its independence from Sudan and 98.83% of the population voted for independence. This led to a formal independence of South on 9
th
July, 2011, althoughcertain disputes still remain such as sharing of the oil revenues as an estimated 80% of the oil is securedfrom South Sudan, which is an amazing economic potential for one of the world's most deprived areas. Theregion of Abyei still remains disputed and a separate referendum will be held in Abyei on whether theywant to join North or South Sudan.
India and Sudan
India’s relations with Sudan go back to the days of the Nilotic and Indus Valley Civilizationswhen both carried out trade almost 5,000 years ago through Mesopotamia. Some archaeologists claimIndian influence through its ancient Red Sea port of Adulis. Nubian kingdoms of 12th century northernSudan had trade links with India. In the 17th century, Sinnar, capital of the Funj “Black Sultanate”, hadregular trade with India through the Red Sea port of Suakin. Indian merchants frequented to the major market town of Shendi in northern Sudan (centre of the slave trade situated on the east bank of the Nile)150 km northeast of Khartoum to sell spices, sandalwood and textiles and buy leather, gold, wood andanimals like camels and horses.Indians began to settle in Sudan about 150 years ago when traders from Guajarati came to thisland in the early 1860s they slowly expanded their business. From port towns of Port Sudan and SuwakinIndians moved into the interior of the country. Ever since, Indian community in Sudan has played animportant role in cementing relations between the two countries. During India’s freedom movement,Mahatma Gandhi stopped over in Port Sudan (while sailing to England) in 1935 and in 1938; PanditJawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi halted there on their way to Britain and were hosted by Indiancommunity. Getting inspiration from Indian experience, leaders of Sudan's independence movementformed The Graduates Congress in 1938, modeled on the Indian National Congress.Before its independence, Sudan's first parliamentary elections in 1953 were conducted bySukumar Sen, the Chief Election Commissioner of India. In April 1955, the interim Prime Minister of theSudan Ismial Al Azhari and several Ministers visited New Delhi on their way to Bandung for the first Afro-Asian Relations Conference. India appointed M.A. Kidwai as the first Liaison Officer --later India’s Charged’Affaires-- in Khartoum in March 1955. India was among the first countries to recognize independentSudan. Both have continued to have cordial relations, despite India's recently growing close relationshipwith United States and Israel (whom Sudan does not recognize), India's solidarity with Egypt over border issues with Sudan, and Sudan's intimate bonds with Pakistan. Sudanese Government funded with one
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