India-South Sudan Relations
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India-South Sudan Relations

South Sudan was a part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, under joint British-Egyptian rule, from 1899-1955. After two civil wars (1962-72 and 1983-2005), a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed between the Government of Sudan and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on 09 January 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya which led to autonomy for the South, and a South Sudanese referendum on independence in six years' time. Consequently, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 09 July 2011, following a peaceful referendum in which 98.5 percent South Sudanese voted for independence. South Sudan is the 193rd member of the United Nations and 54th member of the African Union. India did not take sides in the two civil wars; therefore, unlike some other countries, it carries no baggage from the past. There were sporadic informal contacts between SPLM and Indian Missions in Kampala, Nairobi, and Kinshasa in the 1980s and 1990s. When the war broke out in 1983, only a few intrepid members of the Indian community stayed on in Juba and other major towns while most left for the North.

India has long standing relations with the people of South Sudan. In December 1975, the then President of India, Shri Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed visited Sudan and addressed the Regional Peoples' Assembly in Juba. Almost the entire population of Juba had turned out to welcome him. An assessment by the Embassy in Khartoum stated: "On the whole, the visit to Juba made it evident that the Southern Sudanese have deeper respect for India." India increased its engagement with South Sudan after the second civil war ended in 2005. The Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri E.A. Ahamed, attended the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on 09 January 2005 in Nairobi, between the Government of Sudan and SPLM that brought peace to South Sudan. Indian Consulate in Juba was opened in October 2007, which was later upgraded to the level of Embassy in March 2012. India was one of the first countries to recognize Independent South Sudan and Hon'ble Vice President of India Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari attended the Independence Day celebrations in Juba in July 2011.

Important Bilateral Visits

From the Indian side, former President Shri Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed visited Juba (then part of Sudan) in December 1975. Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri E. Ahamed, attended the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement between South Sudan and Sudan in Nairobi in January 2005. Subsequently, he led a multi-disciplinary delegation to South Sudan in June 2011. Vice President Shri Hamid Ansari represented India at the independence ceremony in Juba on 09 July 2011. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met President Salva Kiir Mayardit in New York on 24 September 2011on the sidelines of UN General Assembly (UNGA).The Special Envoy of India to Sudan and South Sudan visited the two countries regularly during the last two years to discuss issues of bilateral interest. An audit team from C&AG of India, led by a Joint Secretary visited South Sudan from 11th August to 5 September 2014 to conduct the audit of UN Peace Keeping Operation Mission in South Sudan(UNMISS). MOS(VKS) Gen (Retd) V.K Singh, visited Juba, South Sudan from July 12-13, 2015 as Special Envoy of Prime Minister of India to deliver invitations to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Foreign Minister Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin for participation in Third India Africa Summit in New Delhi in October 2015.

From the South Sudanese side, a high level delegation from President Salva Kiir's office led by Dr. Priscilla Joseph Kuch visited India in April 2011. Special Envoy of the President of South Sudan, Joseph Lual Achuil visited in November 2011. Former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny, visited India to participate in the conference organized by the Friends of Moral Re-armament at Panchgani in January 2012. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Cooperatives, Betty Achan Ogwaro, visited in January 2012. Deputy Minister of Commerce of South Sudan, Kengen Jakor Beyo led an eight member delegation to attend the ELECRAMA Exhibition in Mumbai in January 2012 on the invitation of the Indo-African Chamber of Commerce. Chairperson of the Constituency Fund Committee of the National Assembly, Beatrice Aber Samson, led an eight-member delegation on a Study Tour of India, hosted by the Indian Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training in July 2012. South Sudanese President Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit was scheduled to visit India in August 2013, but the visit was postponed at the last minute due to disturbed political situation in the country. President Salva Kiir accompanied by a high level official delegation attended the Third India Africa Summit held in New Delhi in October 2015 and discussed bilateral relations with PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Summit. Dr Bernaba Marial Benjamin, Foreign Affairs Minister also participated in the Ministerial level meetings and interacted with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the Summit. The South Sudanese delegation also included Minister for Health, Minister for Finance and Minister for Petroleum and many various Government officials. South Sudan Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau and senior officials also attended 4th India Africa Hydrocarbon Conference in New Delhi on 21-22 January 2016

February 23, 2016