Home > Bilateral > India-Sudan Bilateral Brief

INDIA-SUDAN BILATERAL RELATIONS

Historical Background

1.      There is evidence that by the end of the 12th century, trade via the Red Sea between India and the ancient Nubian kingdoms of Sudan had started growing. Visiting Sudan in the 16th century, the famous spiritual leader Tajuddin Al Buhari stayed with the renowned al-Hindi family of Sufis originally from India (the al-Hindis have been a leading political family in Sudan).
2.      By 1699, Sennar, the capital of the Black Funj Sultanate, traded extensively with India through Sawakin Port in Silk, silver ornaments, leather and gold.

Bilateral Relations – 1900-1947
3.      The two famous steel suspension rail bridges in Khartoum and Atbara, still in use, were imported from India in the first decade of the last century. Indian experts, starting in 1900, developed Sudan’s forestry sector.
4.      In 1935, Mahatma Gandhi stopped over in Port Sudan (on his way to England through sea) and was welcomed by the Indian community there. In 1938, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stopped over in Port Sudan on his way to Britain and was hosted through a function at the home of Chhotalal Samji Virani. The Graduates General Congress of Sudan formed in 1938 drew heavily on the experience of the Indian National Congress.
5.      British Indian troops fought alongside Sudanese in Eritrea in 1941 winning the decisive battle of Keren (Bengal Sappers won a Victoria Cross for mine clearance in Metemma, now on the Sudan-Ethiopia border). The Sudan Block at India’s National Defence Academy was partly funded with a gift of one hundred thousand pounds from the Sudanese Government in recognition of the sacrifices of Indian troops in the liberation of Sudan in the North African Campaign during World War II.

Bilateral Relations – Post 1947

6.      The first Sudanese Parliamentary elections in 1953 were conducted by Shri Sukumar Sen, India’s Chief Election Commissioner (the Sudanese Election Commission, formed in 1957, drew heavily on Indian election literature and laws).
7.      A Sudanization Committee, established in February 1954 with budgetary support from India for compensation payments finished its work in April 1955. India opened a diplomatic representation in Khartoum in March 1955. In April 1955, the interim Prime Minister of the Sudan Ismail Al Azhari and several Ministers transited through New Delhi on their way to Bandung for the first Afro-Asian Relations Conference.
8.      At the 1955 Bandung Conference, the delegation from a still not independent Sudan did not have a flag to mark its place. Taking out his handkerchief, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote “Sudan” on it, thus reserving a place for Sudan in the international community.
9.      In 1958, India offered a six-acre plot (for a nominal price) in the Chanakyapuri area of New Delhi for the construction of Sudan Embassy.
10.    In 1993 and 1994 India voted against UN resolutions critical of Sudan and opposed moves in 1994 to expel Sudan from the IMF. In 1995 it was formally suspended from IMF but subsequently under negotiations, a formula was devised as per which it was required to pay US$ 4 million per month, which it could not honour due to its continued liquidity problem.
11.    Following mass protests, President Bashir  was ousted in the military coup on 11 April 2019. Currently Sudan is ruled by a 11-member interim Sovereign Council headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan as President, and an interim government headed by Mr. Abdallah Hamdok as Prime Minister.

12.    Since Sudan gained independence in 1956, there have been regular exchanges of bilateral visits between India and Sudan at all levels.

13. Chronology of recent Bilateral Visits
From India to Sudan:

S.No.

Name of the visitor

Date/Remarks

1.

Dr. Arvind Gupta,
Deputy National Security Advisor

July 2015. Met DG of National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Minister of Finance, Minister of Interior, Asst Minister of Foreign Affairs, Asst Minister of Defence, Speaker of National Assembly and members of Indian Business Community.

2.

Shri  Gen.V. K. Singh, State Minister of External Affairs as Special Envoy

September 2015; Met President Bashir and delivered the formal invitation for IAFS-III held in New Delhi.

From Sudan to India

S. No.

Name of the visitor

Date/Remarks

1. 

President Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir

October, 2015; to participate in 3rdIndia-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi.

2. 

Mr. Elsadig M Ali H. Al Rasoul, State Minister for Trade

January 2016; to attend the 22ndCII Partnership Summit in Vishakhapatnam.

3.

Mr. Mohd Zayad Awad, Minister of Oil and Gas

January 2016: to attend the 4thIndia-Africa Hydrocarbons Conference in New Delhi.

Mr. Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, Minister of Defense

March 2016; to attend the ‘Defexpo-2016’ in Goa. 

Mr. Mohd Makawi Awad, Minister of Roads, Bridges and Transportation

April 2016; to attend the ‘Maritime India-2016’ in Mumbai.

Mr. Mohd Zayad Awad, Minister of Oil and Gas

5-7 December 2016: to attend the ‘Petrotech-2016’ New Delhi.

Mr. Elsadig M Ali H. Al Rasoul, State Minister for Trade

January 2017; to attend the 23nd CII Partnership Summit in Vishakhapatnam.

Prof. Ibrahim A. Ghandour, Foreign Minister

February 2017; to co-chair the   Joint Committee Meeting in New Delhi.

Dr. Awad Ahmed Mohamed Aljaz, Presidential Assistant on BRICS File

25-27 March 2018; to attend CII-EXIM Bank Conclave in New Delhi.

10

Eng. Saad Al-din Hussein Elbushra Abdelmagid,  Minister of State for Oil and Gas

10-12 April 2018; to participate in the 16th Ministerial meeting of the International Energy Forum in New Delhi.

11

Dr. Mohamed Osman Al-Rikabi,  Minister of Finance and Economic Planning

25-26 June 2018; to participate in the 3rd Meeting of the Asian Bank for Infrastructure Investment (AIIB) held in Mumbai

12 

Dr. Awad Ahmed Al-Jazz, Assistant to the President   and Deputy Chairman of the National Committee on Sudan’s relations with BRICS’s countries   accompanied by Minister, Oil & Gas and MOSs for  Finance and Foreign Ministry

6-10 August, 2018 to hold bilateral discussions on restructuring of payment of EXIM Bank’s LOCs, further extension of LOCs, payment of pending dues of OVL, bilateral cooperation in hydrocarbons, mining, agriculture, finance, solar energy etc

13 

Minister of Health Dr. Mohamed Abuzaid Mustafa Mohamed Gameel

29 Sept – 2 October 2018  to participate in the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention on  in New Delhi.

14 

Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity Mr. Khider Mohamed Gasmelseed Ahmad

2-5 October 2018 to participate in the General Assembly of ISA in New Delhi  and 2nd Re-Invest.

15 

Mr. Saadeldin Hussein Al Bushra Abdelmajid, MOS, for Petroleum, Gas and Minerals

10-12 February 2019 to attend ‘Petrotech 2019’ at Greater Noida.

16 

Dr. Hamid Suliman Hamid, Undersecretary (equivalent to MOS), Ministry of Energy and Mining

October 30-November 2, 2019 to attend the 2nd General Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) held in New Delhi

17 

Mr. Mohamed Ali Abdall Mohamed Ali, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade

November 6-7, 2019 to attend India-WANA Conclave in Cairo.

 

Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC)
14.    The India-Sudan Joint Committee (formed in January 1995) was upgraded to a Joint Commission at Ministerial level in June 1997 during the visit of then Foreign Minister Ali Osman Taha to India when the first Joint Committee at Ministerial level was held in New Delhi. The third round of India Sudan JMC was held in New Delhi on 20-21 February, 2017 and co-chaired by Minister of State (MJA) from the Indian side and Prof. Ibrahim A. Ghandour, Foreign Minister from the Sudanese side.

Foreign Office Consultations

15.    Foreign Office Consultations between India and Sudan have been held regularly with the first taking place in September 2000 in Khartoum and the 8th round of FOC was held in New Delhi on 3 December 2018 at the level of Joint Secretary (WANA) from the Indian side and Director General, Asia and Arab Affairs in the Sudanese Foreign Ministry.

Joint Working Group on Oil and Gas

16.    The first meeting of the India-Sudan Joint Working Group on cooperation on the Oil and Gas sector was held in Khartoum in November 2010.
Bilateral Trade:
17.    A snapshot of our bilateral trade in US$ million is given in the following table:

Year
(Jan- Dec)

India’s Exports

India’s Imports

Total Bilateral Trade

2014

880.27

655.81

1,536.08

2015

831.0

188.7

1,019.7

2016

753.23

166.21

919.44

2017

840.85

440.57

1,281.42

2018

795.45

707.12

1,502.57

Jan upto Nov 2019

941.6

455

1,396.6

Source: DGCIS, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India
18.    As per Central Bank of Sudan’s statistics, India is the third largest exporter to Sudan after China. It primarily exports food stuffs, petroleum products, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, chemicals including pharmaceuticals and textiles to Sudan. Sudan mainly exports sesame seed, gum Arabic, cotton, hides and skins and ground nuts to India.
Economic Relations
19.    In January 2007, former President Omer Al-Bashir inaugurated Sudan’s first solar photo- voltaic module manufacturing plant built with Indian technology and equipment (supplied by CEL) at the Energy Research Institute in Khartoum.
20.    India was one of the few countries that has unilaterally declared Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The DFTP Scheme grants duty free access on about 96% of India's total tariff lines and preferential access (Positive List) on about 2.2% of tariff lines. Only 1.8% tariff lines are under the Exclusion List. Duty Free and Positive List cover about 98.2% of global exports of LDCs. Sudan has completed all formalities to be eligible under the Scheme. Sudan is a beneficiary of India’s DFTP Scheme since 2009 and Exports to India from Sudan have been gradually rising. It is observed that out of top 20 exporting items from Sudan, India provides Duty free access to 17 items and preferential duty on another item.
Indian Investments
21.    Indian public sector undertakings, ONGC (V) has invested over 2.3 billion in undivided Sudan. Currently, it has share in productive Block 1, 2 & 4 in Sudan. The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas of India and the then Ministry of Energy and Mining of Sudan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on promoting Cooperation in the Oil and Gas Sector on 8 December 2009 in India.
Other Indian companies and their investments in Sudan
22.    As per Sudanese Ministry of Industry figures the total Indian investment in various sectors upto 2015 is around US$450 million. A number of steel units are owned by Persons of Indian origins such as Liberty Steel, Aarti Steel which is a subsidiary of Bhusan Group. Persons of Indian Origin with Gujarati roots have been staying in Omdurman area for more than 100 years. They own manufacturing units such as packaging industry, beverage and food and are mostly in trading activities. Indian pharmaceutical companies are very active in Sudan as a source of formulations and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). The Pharmaceutical industry of Sudan especially manufacturers have a close relations with Indian Pharmaceutical machinery manufacturers who have put up a number of lines of Pharmaceutical manufacturing units in Sudan. Vegetable Oil machinery manufacturers and consultants have put up a number of manufacturing lines for the major food groups in Sudan. Orient Fan which has a major share and is a market leader in Sudan is represented by an Indian origin Omdurman businessman who also has a manufacturing facility. Major Indian brands in Pharma have representations here and so do major automotives companies like Tata, Mahindra, and Bajaj.
Capacity Building
23.    In November 2006, Sudan signed the Pan-African E-Network Country Agreement with India for the establishment of a satellite and fibre-optic network to provide effective communication and connectivity among the 53 members of the African Union, and tele-education and tele-medicine.   After the successful implementation of the first phase of this project, Government of India is launching the second phase of this project with enhanced capacity and superior equipments called e- Vidya Bharati (tele-education) and Arogya Bharati (tele-medicine) [e-VBAB]. This project will be set up in educational institutions and hospitals in Sudan soon, MoU already has been signed on 23 October 2019 to this effect.
24.    As per the decisions taken during IAFS- III held in New Delhi in October 2015, the number of ITEC slots for Sudan has been increased to 220 from the year 2018-19. The number of annual ITEC slots being offered to Sudan is the maximum to any country under WANA division. A number of Sudanese government employees are also seeking various special training courses offered under ITEC & 3rd Indo-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III).  Sudanese scholars are  also selected for the prestigious CV Raman Fellowship Programme. Besides, Sudanese diplomats have been attending Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD) organized by Foreign Service Institute (FSI), Ministry of External Affairs. 25 Sudanese Judges from Sudan Judiciary went for a special two week training programme for Sudanese judges under ITEC at National Law School of India University, Bengaluru  from 10-23 December 2019. Also Sudanese students avail of scholarships for higher education in India offered by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). The below chart shows the slots offered to Sudan under ICCR and ITEC in recent years:


Year

ICCR Slots

ITEC slots

2014-15

27

150

2015-16

27

150

2016-17

27

200

2017-18

27

200

2018-19

27

220

2019-20

27

220 + 32 additional utilization

Projects and Lines of Credit
25.    In April 2006, India’s Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources funded a solar electrification system (implemented by Central Electronics Ltd) for Khadarab village about two hours road journey from Khartoum, bringing light for the first time into the lives of some 1,500 villagers. The project has been replicated in several other villages.
26.    A number of Lines of Credit have been extended to the Government of Sudan beginning with Rs. 20 million Line of Credit from India in 1980. During President Kalam’s visit in 2003, US$ 50 million line of credit was extended to Sudan (the first ever on a Government-to- Government basis) for Indian goods and services in power, solar energy, railways and laboratory equipment. As on date India has extended seven Lines of Credit aggregating USD 677.34 million to the Government of Sudan [additional two LoCs consequent upon first loan restructuring of USD 45.17 million and second loan restructuring of USD 19.61 million]. As on December 31, 2019, the overdues from Govt. of Sudan have piled up to USD 34.72 million [including interest and principal], despite the LoCs to Sudan being restructured twice.

Kosti Thermal Power Plant
27.    Kosti Thermal Power Plant built by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is located at UM DABAKER in Sudan with capacity of 500 MW (4 X 125 MW). This is the largest thermal power plant in Sudan and the biggest built by BHEL in Africa. The project was financed under GoI Line of Credit of US$ 350 million to the Government of Sudan. The power plant was commissioned and dedicated to the nation by the former Sudanese President in Feb 2016. Significantly, this is BHEL's largest oil-fired thermal power plant in the overseas market and also its first crude-oil fired thermal power plant in Africa. BHEL executed this project on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.

Humanitarian Assistance
28.    India donated tents and medicines for flood victims in Gezira state in 1978 and gifted medicines to control the leishmaniasis (kala-azar) epidemic in South Sudan in 1983. India gifted 22,560 tonnes of wheat in 1985 and another 6,000 tonnes in 1987.
29.    Following devastating floods in Khartoum in late 1996, India airlifted urgently needed medicines. In October 2003, India announced a grant of US$ 50,000 of medicines for the victims of the floods in Kassala region.
30.    In response to the Sudanese government’s request, India donated 20,000 tons of wheat as humanitarian assistance to the people of Darfur in March 2005.
31.    ONGC Videsh Ltd has donated generously for a school for special children, sports equipment, prostheses etc. In July 2007, at the request of elders of the Shilluk community, and with the endorsement of the Embassy, OVL donated a powerful generator to Kodok town in Fashdoda County of Upper Nile State. In early 2008, India donated tents and medicines worth US$ 100,000 for flood relief in north and south Sudan. In the year 2016, OVL donated Solar street lights to a village in Ombadda area of Khartoum State. Under CSR, OVL has been undertaking projects of social relevance in Sudan as per Ministry’s advice every year.
32.    On 15 August 2007, the private sector Indian company Angelique International Ltd gifted US$ 5,000 to renovate the Indian school in Kassala town, while OVL helped to refurbish the Indian Club in Port Sudan. Several Indian companies in Sudan contributed generously for repairs of a school in Kadugli done by the Indian army battalion posted there.

Cooperation in Health Sector
33.    Healthcare is an important sector for co-operation between the two countries and there is potential for cooperation both G2G and between the business fraternity. India continues to offer capacity building programmes under ITEC and customized programme under IAFS to Sudanese health professionals and care givers. In pursuance of the commitments made under IAFS-III, mid-career specialized training courses are conducted at regular intervals at renowned hospitals in India like Apollo Hospitals, Fortis and Artemis Hospital. India has become the major destination for Sudanese patients to avail medical treatment in India. Embassy of India, Khartoum has issued more than 4000 Medical visas in 2018 and the trend is on the upswing. India has one of the largest share in Pharma products (formulations and APIs) imports in Sudan. In addition, Pharma manufacturing companies in Sudan also source machinery from India for pharma manufacturing units. The pharmaceutical industry is a priority for Sudan.

Educational Cooperation
34.    Annually about 3-4 thousand students travel to India for higher studies under self financing scheme, mainly to Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. More than 70 thousand Sudanese are graduates of Indian universities, some of whom are holding high positions in government and business. The number of Student Visas issued by the Mission is increasing every year. Mission issued nearly 1674 student visas in 2018. Most of Sudanese students after studying in India have carved a niche for themselves in diplomacy, academia, governance and entrepreneurship.

Cultural Relations
35.    ICCR sponsored cultural troupes regularly visit Sudan. The last visit was by 10-member ICCR-sponsored cultural troupe ‘Bollywood Jhankaar Dance Company’ visited Sudan from 1-7 December 2019. On 16 May 2016, ICCR and Alzaeim Al Azhari University in Khartoum signed a MoU to open a Hindi Language Chair at the University which became operational in February 2017 when the first Hindi Teacher joined the Chair for a tenure of two years. Mission has been organizing International Day of Yoga since 2015 with significant participation of the local populace and Yoga enthusiasts. In order to commemorate Birth Anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Rashtriya Ekta Divas), Mission organizes various events on 31st October every year. Mission has organized various events to celebrate Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary during 2018-19.

Indian Community
36.    Out of about 2500 Indians in Sudan, the settled Indian community in Sudan is now about 1500, which is about 150 years young. The first Indian Luvchand Amarchand Shah, a Gujarati trader who imported goods from India, is believed to have come to Sudan from Aden in the early 1860s. When his business expanded, he brought his relatives from Saurashtra, who in turn invited their own friends and family. This is how the Indian community grew and developed in Sudan initially. From the small towns in the eastern part of the country, (Port Sudan and Sawakin) the early Indian pioneers moved into the interior of the country and settled down in Omdurman, Kassala, Gedaref and Wad Medani.
37.    Other expatriate Indian community members are working as professionals in key sectors of the Sudanese economy. There are a few Indian civilian officers working in United Nations missions in Darfur and in Abyei in addition to other UN organisations.
38.    The Mission maintains a website (www.eoikhartoum.in), a Facebook Page (India in Sudan), Twitter handle (@EoI_Khartoum) and Instagram (India in Sudan) as social media tools and disseminates information pertaining to all aspects of Mission’s activities (Press release, Advertisement, ITEC and ICCR related information, visa and consular information, advisories, commercial queries etc.), MEA’s publicity contents, fair and festival of India, and so on.

31-Jan-20

******

image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image