Business News/ News / World/  ‘India will play a key role in reconstruction, recovery of Sudan’

NEW DELHI : India will play a major role in the reconstruction and recovery of Sudan after the ongoing conflict in the African nation ends, said Sudan’s Ambassador to India Abdallah Omer Bashir Alhusain.

In an interview, Alhusain, however, said Sudan isn’t interested in having New Delhi mediate a resolution in the conflict between government forces and rebel groups, terming it an “internal matter". He said India’s track record in building government capacity in Sudan and development efforts positions it well to contribute to the country’s recovery. Edited excerpts:

The evacuation of Indian citizens from Sudan gained much attention. Could you give a sense of how this unfolded?

Actually, we worked with visa officials and the Indian government, especially the Ministry of External Affairs, who worked really hard. I congratulate them for this operation. We worked together to exchange information to provide the permits for the flights and the ships to go to Sudan. We obtained all the required permits. We also coordinated with the authorities in Khartoum to help transport the Indian citizens from the capital to Port Sudan. This was land transportation by road for around 1000 kilometers. So it was also a very sensitive operation. I think India is one of the first countries to evacuate its nationals.

Has New Delhi been asked to assume some sort of mediation role to help the two warring sides come to an agreement?

As I mentioned earlier, our bilateral relations with the Indian government is one of the strongest and we have good cooperation and coordination on both bilateral and multilateral debates. However, in Sudan, we look at this conflict as a rebel force threatening the integrity and security of our country. We appreciate all the international community efforts to help calm the situation. Yet we insist that it is an internal matter and it should be left for Sudanese to solve without any outside interference. I believe that after the end of this conflict, India would play a major role in the development and recovery of the economy of Sudan.

Sudan enjoys a strategic location in the Western Indian Ocean. What can both sides do on defence?

On the military level, we have a good relationship with India. There is a signed military protocol between India and Sudan. India is providing training for our military officers, in Indian military institutions. And as far as the Western Indian Ocean is concerned, my government will be willing to cooperate with India to protect international trade. There is a good ongoing discussion between India and different African countries, including Sudan, on defence issues. Hopefully, this discussion will materialize soon in action to maintain security there. I think Sudan is very willing to cooperate to participate in any kind of agreements in the future.

Is there a sense of where this conflict is headed?

These unfortunate events were started by rebel forces on 15 April. These rebels were part of the armed forces until they started their rebellion.

When they started their coup, they were inside the military camps and inside the capital city of Khartoum and that is a densely populated area. They targeted civilian areas like the Presidential palace, Khartoum international airport, state radio and TV stations, and the General Command of the armed forces itself. So it is very important for our audience to understand that those rebels were inside Khartoum. They did not come from outside and capture territory. The armed forces responded to them to fulfil their commitments to provide security and stability in the country. But due to the fact that this conflict has been taking place in a civilian area, our armed forces adopted a combat strategy aimed at minimizing the losses among the civilians. Now, our troops are in good control in different parts of the capital. Unfortunately, a good number of rebels also took shelter in civilian houses which makes it very difficult for the armed forces to find them. During this conflict, a number of ceasefire agreements have been reached but unfortunately they’ve been always violated by the rebels. During the last talks, which were sponsored by Saudi Arabia and the US, the two parties reached an agreement for a seven-day ceasefire, which started last night. Hopefully, this ceasefire will allow our government to evacuate injured people and to provide the citizens with food, water and electricity. It is worth mentioning that these talks deal only with security and humanitarian issues. There is no political aspect to it. This is because we believe that it is our main duty to protect our sovereignty and the integrity of our country. There is no compromise in this issue.

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Updated: 27 May 2023, 12:50 AM IST
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