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Media Statement by External Affairs Minister during his visit to Sudan

February 04, 2014

Friends and members of the media,

  • I arrived here today in the morning and found warm greetings waiting for me from our friends in Sudan. I am very thankful to Foreign Minister Karti for all the arrangements made to facilitate fruitful discussions between the two of us to find way forward in our otherwise historical and traditional bilateral relationship.
  • India and Sudan enjoy an active relationship in both political and economic terms. In the last one year, we saw visits of our ministerial colleagues from Sudan. Business visits also continued putting the bilateral trade on a positive trend line. Our bilateral trade figures are expected to reach a figure of close to US$ 1 billion by the time we end the Indian financial year of 2013-14 on March 31, 2014. There exist a number of complementarities in bilateral trade and we need to utilize them for further deepening of our economic engagement.
  • Institutional engagements are essential to bilateral linkages between any two modern nations and we are no exception to this rule. The Foreign Office political consultation was held in November 2013, which was highly successful. It reviewed our overall bilateral relationship. Based on the recommendations of our two delegations, it has been decided to hold the meetings of the Joint Ministerial Commission and business-to-business Joint Business Council within this year. Before the end of the year, the next round of Foreign Office Consultations would again review the progress of our engagement. Today, Indian businesses are very active and are investing abroad in a significantly large number, of course, to gain commercial advantages. They are present in Sudan in sectors such as energy, retail marketing, mining, agriculture, pharmaceuticals etc. The sum total of all these investments would be appreciable and in the range of close to US$ 2.8 to 3 billion. While some of these have come here directly, others have come through their own companies in third countries.
  • Many a times, I have been asked to identify the top priority initiative of Indian foreign policy towards Sudan. My response had been rather straight-forward and simple. It is the capacity building in human resources, capacity building in infrastructure and capacity building in industrial processes. Institution building is an important part for capacity enhancement and, in this respect; we are currently engaged in setting up of an English language training center in Khartoum and a Vocational Training Center in Ad-Damar. Earlier, we set up an e-learning center in Khartoum, which has attracted attention of end-users. Though it is difficult to put a number, many estimate that there are approximately 30,000 Sudanese nationals, who have been to India for educational purposes and, I am glad to report to you that many of them are contributing positively towards growth and development of the Republic of the Sudan, further cementing and strengthening India-Sudan bilateral ties.
  • In our efforts concerning infrastructure development in Sudan, one of the larger projects underway is the Kosti-based power plant with an installed capacity of 500 MW. I hope that it will be completed very soon and handed to the people of Sudan. We are also engaged in construction and commissioning of a sugar plant at Mashkour and hope that it will be able to contribute to export of sugar from Sudan to earn valuable foreign currency. Many similar projects in infrastructure and industrial sectors were completed earlier and have seen their worth in providing benefits to the people of Sudan.
  • The presence of Indian community in Sudan is not a new phenomenon. They are proven to be an important bridge between India and Sudan and I hope and believe that they would continue to do so for their motherland India and the country which provides them livelihood, i.e. Sudan.
  • We need to further intensify our political, economic, capacity building and cultural ties for a better common future. The Nile and the Ganges are mighty rivers by themselves, but when they join hands, no might in the world will be able to stop their natural flow and progress. India has a wealth of experience in the conduct of elections and we are going to face another nation wide General Election in a few months’ time from now – the largest democratic spectacle and process in the world with total number of eligible voters approximating to the total population of Europe. We have seen the development of appropriate technologies in the field of agriculture, dairy, livestock rearing etc. which catapulted India into a higher growth rate trend. We are ready, as in the past, to share all our successful experiences with Sudan for our mutual benefit.
  • I once again thank members of the press for taking interest in understanding the current trends and the future prospects of India-Sudan bilateral relations.



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