The Department of Political Science organized a special lecture by ambassador of Sudan to India, Dr Hassan E. EL Talib, on the topic “India-Sudan Relations: Emerging Trends,” at the Department of Political Science, on 5 September 2013.
Prof. Badrul Alam introduced Dr. Talib in which he mentioned that the ambassador had a special connection with Jamia. He said Dr. Talib had spent one year in Jamia Millia Islamia as a student of M.A. Economics during his university years.
Speaking of India-Sudan bilateral relations, Dr. Talib said Sudan’s relation with India go back in history well before the independence of Sudan and India. He said in 1935, Mahatma Gandhi stopped in Port Sudan while on his way to England and was welcomed by the Indian community there. Also, in 1938, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter also stopped in Port Sudan on their way to Britain.
In addition, in the 1955 Bandung Conference, the delegation from a still not independent Sudan did not have a flag to mark its place. So Jawaharlal Nehru took out his handkerchief and wrote “Sudan” on it with a pen, thus reserving a place for Sudan in the international community. This according to Dr. Talib was a strong step in enhancing India – Sudan relationship.
After independence in 1955, students from Sudan have been coming to all the different universities of India for higher and better education, said the ambassador. There are approximately 8,000 students from Sudan enrolled in the Indian universities, he said. The common disciplines Sudanese students opt for in India are engineering and information and technology.
Talking of trade between the two countries, Dr. Talib said, “The two-way trade between Sudan and India amounts to approximately $4 billion.” Citing examples of bilateral trade, he further said that in 2003 the Oil and Natural Gas Cooperation (ONGC) established a refinery in the south as well as in the north Sudan. Sudan agreed to the petroleum refinery for strategic reasons. 75 percent of total produce of petroleum in Sudan is from the South Sudan. Sudan is also rich in cereals like wheat and some of the oil seeds such as sunflower, sesame seeds, which are among the major exports of Sudan.
It is also the largest seller of gum Arabic to US and India, which is used for organic manufacture, in soft drinks, beverages and oil, he said. Among the other important exports are minerals. Sudan produced 50 tonnes of gold last year, he said. The other important minerals are cobalt, iron ore and gypsum. India and china are the leading buyers of minerals from Sudan. Sugar is the other important produce of Sudan. A couple of weeks ago Dr. Talib said, India extended its Line of Credit to Sudan to build a new Sugar factory. This was initiated by the Department of Partnership Administration of India, affiliated to the ministry of external affairs.
Africa is also rich in livestock, especially Sudan, said the ambassador.
Talking of the healthcare industry he said, India being rich in medical technology and production of medicines, it has attracted a lot of African patients for sophisticated surgeries such as organ transplant.
Africa and India have shared a common history he said, both were under the colonial rule for almost 50 years. Dr. Talib feels Africa can learn from the Indian experience for India is a relatively new country like Sudan, and unlike many African countries, it has managed to build a stable democracy.
Dr. Talib also supported the Non Aligned Movement that was initiated by India, of which Africa was very much a part of it from the start. He believed it to be one of the most important developments in world history that actually helped the Third World countries to prosper.
In conclusion he said, the relations between Sudan and India have been strengthening and there is a need to push them forward.
Listen to Ambassador Hassan El Talib’s talk in full here: