Monthly Archives: November 2015

2nd Asian Festival in Khartoum

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This was the second year that Asia, the world’s largest and most populous continent had a festival in Khartoum. The festival showcased cultural performances, handicrafts, food stalls and had ‘lucky draws’. It was co-hosted by the Embassies of the Asian countries in Khartoum namely China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan and Russia. The food and handicraft bazaar along with the cultural shows was held on Friday, 28th November’15 from 5pm till 10pm at Lebdah Hall, Corinthia Hotel. More than 2000 visitors turned up from both Sudanese and Asian families. The festival was inaugurated by the Federal Minister of Culture Mr. Al-Tayeb Hassan Badawi who spoke of the friendly relations between Sudan and Asian countries. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Abd Elghani Elnaim Awad Elkarim said that the location of the festival was near the confluence of Blue and White Nile, symbolic of the Asian countries getting together at this festival and that too on a Friday being a holiday was very convenient for visitors. Ambassador Abd Elghani also mentioned about the significance of Bandung conference in Indonesia before the Independence of Sudan in 1955 where Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru wrote Sudan on his white handkerchief and offered it as a flag for the nation. Ambassador Abd Ghani also spoke about Sudan’s solidarity with Asian countries since the President of Sudan recently visited China and India. The dances, martial arts and musical performances of the Asian countries kept the audience entertained. Ambassador of Korea H.E. Park Won Sup is the present Dean of the Asian Diplomatic Corp in Sudan. Korea presented martial art Taekwondo performed skilfully by a Sudanese team.

Women Power in Blue Nile

WomenAmbassador Susan Blankhart of the Netherlands is very active and visible in social media where we get to know that she has been invited for a typical Sudanese gada (lunch) or she has visited a potato farm in Omdurman. But this time social media announced about the challenge she took to swim across the Blue Nile. On Saturday 21st November at around 4 pm she along with six Dutch women and seven Sudanese girls swam across Blue Nile. The message she gave was that women should not be afraid to swim in the Nile in fear of getting drowned. This event named Crossing the Nile was supported by organizations like Nile Swimmers, Sea Scouts and the Dutch Don’t Drown Foundation.women2

Bhangra comes to Sudan

3sBhangra, the popular Indian folk dance of Punjab, was performed by an Indian troupe in Port Sudan and at National Theatre Omdurman. Indian Council of Cultural Relations, New Delhi and the Embassy of India in Khartoum with the cooperation from the Sudanese Ministry of Culture brought the International Bhangra group from India to Sudan. The 12 member troupe enthralled the Sudanese audience with various themes of Bhangra song, dance and orchestra. The Bhangra team comprising three women and nine men performed in Port Sudan on 12th and at the National Theatre in Omdurman on 14th November. They sported colourful traditional attire and performed with energy and skill while playing their traditional folk musical instruments. More than 1500 people both from the Sudanese and the Indian community, attended the show at the National Theatre in Omdurman. The Ambassador of India H.E. Amrit Lugun welcomed the Sudanese Minister of State for Youth and Sports Mr. El Yasa Al Sadig as the Chief Guest along with officials from Ministry of Culture, Council of International Peoples Friendship, Ambassadors of various countries and other dignitaries. Minister El Yasa Al Sadig who is an alumni from Pune University in India spoke highly of the Indian community in Sudan. The function at Omdurman began with a patriotic dance programme performed with grace and devotion by the Indian Ladies Club of Khartoum. The patron of the Indian Ladies Club is the First Lady of India Mrs.Asha Lugun.1s

‘Speaking in one voice’ – India Africa Forum Summit

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India and Africa spoke in one voice to advocate reforms in global institutions like the United Nations. Africa’s voice represents more than a quarter of UN members and India the world’s largest democracy has one sixth of humanity. The Prime Minister of India Mr.Narendra Modi spoke in these words at the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi. This was the largest assembly having representation for all 54 African countries including over 40 heads of state/ government. PM Modi said that with the rapid progress India and Africa have mode in recent times, UN Security Council can’t leave them behind and must reform and expand the Security Council to include India and countries from Africa.

Foreign Minister of Sudan Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour spoke in the same voice and asked India to take the lead to change the world order. He referred to the issue of reform of the United Nations and its institutions, top of them being the Security Council.

President of the Republic of Sudan Field Marshall Omar Al-Bashir said that United Nations is 70 years old but needs to strengthen without discrimination and needs to respect the laws of the countries. He added that India and Africa can coordinate and show the right direction to the United Nations.

President Omar Bashir emphasized that the presence of India and South Africa in the BRICS nations can further benefit the African nations in South-South dialogues for the economic and political independence and progress. He said that we can look into new horizons of monetary systems with our own currencies especially with Indian Rupees as a solution for debt repayments.

President Bashir mentioned that geographically Sudan is strategically located for entry into East Africa with vast fertile land for agriculture and promise for food security. India with its rich experience in the field of Agricultural research, food seeds and other agricultural products can benefit Sudan and Africa.

Sudan’s soldiers and the Indian army fought hand in hand in North Africa during Second World War. Later India played a significant role to recognize Sudan at the Bandung conference in Indonesia in 1955. Since then India and Sudan has had good relations with each other and India has invested in Sudan in several projects particularly in Petroleum, Minerals and Sugar. President Bashir expressed that both India and Sudan have diversity in its people and culture and Sudan has adopted the effective Indian Federal system of Government since 1994.

President Bashir is very hopeful that this 3rd India Africa Forum Summit will further strengthen relations between Sudan and India and bring about a strategic alliance between the two nations.

The Prime Minister of India offered a concessional credit of $10 billion over the next five years to Africa. This is in addition to India’s ongoing credit programme of $7.4 billion in concessional credit and $1.2 billion in grant to Africa since the first India Africa summit in 2008. In addition a grant assistance of $600 million has been offered which includes an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10million. This will also include 50,000 scholarships in India through the next five years. It will also support the pan-Africa e-network and institutions of training and learning across Africa.

Sudanese people in general are very happy with the visit of their President to India. Many have appreciated the ornamental chair gifted to President Omar Bashir at New Delhi by the International Sikh Council.

The seeds for a rich harvest have been sown in this Summit; what remains to be seen is how much will transform into the fruits of reality for Sudan.

Gandhi and Tagore remembered by President of Sudan

At the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit, New Delhi , President of the Republic of Sudan Field Marshal Omar Hassan Al-Bashir concluded his speech by quoting excerpts of a poem by Sudanese poet Taj Elsir Al Hassan written one year after Bandung conference – ” friendly hands were extended to us, the face of Gandhi and the deep echoes of India sent us the singing voice of Tagore, on two wings of poem in the garden of art”. 

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