Special Envoy of India for Sudan and South Sudan and Special Secretary (Development Partnership Administration), Ministry of External Affairs, PS Raghavan, paid an official visit to Juba, South Sudan on 08-09 August 2013. The visit came only a day after the swearing in of the new 18-member South Sudanese Cabinet, reflective of India’s strong commitment in partnering South Sudan, which gained independence only in July 2011, in its political transition process. In fact, Raghavan was the first foreign dignitary to interact with the new South Sudanese leadership.
Raghavan had detailed discussions with the President of South Sudan H.E. Gen Salva Kiir, as well as with the key Ministers of Foreign Affairs; Electricity; Health; Agriculture and Rural Development; Petroleum, Mining and Industry as well as high level officials of the Ministry of Finance. He also interacted with key members of the Indian community based in Juba as well as representatives of the Indian contingent of the peacekeepers attached to the United Nations Mission for South Sudan (UNMISS). India has two battalions of 2200 personnel in UNMISS, deployed in two of the largest states in South Sudan, Jonglei and Upper Nile, since 2011.
The visit was useful for identifying India’s development projects for South Sudan. The programme has two main components of capacity building and infrastructure development in key areas of health, education, solar electrification, mining, agriculture, fisheries, food processing, electoral management and hydrocarbons. Additionally, an offer was made to the South Sudanese side for granting concessional lines of credit (LOC) for undertaking other sustainable development projects, in alignment with its socio-economic priorities.
Raghavan stressed the importance of India’s energy security in bilateral cooperation. ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) has made substantial investments in the hydrocarbon sector in South Sudan over the last ten years, and has expressed interest in further expanding its operations, when conditions permit.
The visit was also undertaken in preparation for the forthcoming visit of the South Sudanese President to India, scheduled from 26-28 August 2013. President Kiir will be accompanied by a high level delegation of Ministers, senior officials and business leaders.
Who: PS Raghvan
When: 08-09 August 2013