“We the people of Sudan regret your transfer back to India with deep sorrow and pain. No matter how best we try to give you what we owe you, we will fail, because your hands of co-operation, your honesty and sincerity augmented the Indo-Sudanese relationship in all fields. We wish you best of life and happiness in your new assignment and we sincerely hope that our long relationship will continue as long as we live.” These were the words cited by Sudanese Indian Friendship Association for H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma on his completion of his tenure in Sudan as Ambassador of India. Sudanese Indian Friendship Association (SIFA) is the people’s body made up of Sudanese nationals who studied in Indian Universities. Hytham Balla Saeed, President and Abuobeida S.Abdalla Vice President of SIFA presented a memento to Ambassador Verma. More than 200 people gathered at Indian Club in Omdurman to bid a sad farewell to His Excellency and Dr.Anil Mithani President of the community presented a memento to Ambassador Verma and expressed their gratitude for guiding and supporting the community in various matters and organizing many cohesive activities. Indian community in Khartoum both from the public sector namely ONGC and BHEL and private sector like Star Contracting Oil & Gas Co. bid farewell to the Ambassador. H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma has touched the hearts of almost every Indian in Sudan and many Sudanese, from every walk of life. The Ambassador has always been accessible to the public. There is not a soul who has not spoken highly of him. His popularity and active participation saw him in action at cultural events, musical nights, tennis, badminton and cricket tournaments in Khartoum. Ambassador’s wife Mrs. Gunjan Verma carried out many charitable activities along with the Indian ladies in Sudan. During the Ambassador’s tenure the bilateral trade between India and Sudan increased from $800 Million to $1.56 Billion. There has been an increase in number of Sudanese businessmen, students and patients wanting to go to India. Sudan wishes them well wherever His Excellency’s career takes them.
Did you know that there are 2 Sudanese restaurants in Pune, a city in Western India? These restaurants which serve Sudanese food were set up because of the large number of Sudanese students studying in the Universities in Pune. Presently there are 7000 Sudanese students studying in various Universities in India mainly in Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Students have taken admission in these Universities primarily through word of mouth from the huge base of 32000 Sudanese who have graduated from Universities in India. Ambassador of India H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma inaugurated the Indian Education Expo an exhibition of Indian universities organized by Chartered Exhibition & Media Private Limited (CEMPL) at the premise of the Old Embassy of India in Khartoum on 13th June. Ambassador Verma said that this exhibition is a small step to create awareness about the high standards of education available in India. He advised the Universities to include an English Proficiency Course for the Sudanese students. Presently there are difficulties in transferring money from Sudan to India but both the Governments are engaged in finding a solution soon. The Ambassador of India said that professional courses particularly post graduate courses in Food Technology, Dairy Technology, Agricultural Engineering, Pharmacy and Nursing would have good demand in Sudan but the Universities should be continuously engaged in such activities and have exhibitions even outside Khartoum in Port Sudan, Gadarif, Al Obeid and other cities.
The Universities who are participating at the Expo are Aditya Educational Institutions, Andhra; Krupanidhi Group of Institutions, Bangalore; Karnataka College Group of Institutions, Bangalore; SHIATS, Allahabad; University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad and Jodhpur National University, Jodhpur. This exhibition is being attended by many Sudanese students who are aspiring to study their preferred academic stream in India. It was interesting to meet a Sudanese national Dr.Mohamed Saad Bayumi who seemed emotional having met his professors from his alma mater of Dharwad at the exhibition. Mr. Kapil Suri of Jodhpur National University shared that he has hired a Nigerian Chef because they have a large number of Nigerian students. He is open to this idea for students from Sudan. After all food is an important factor to make the students feel at home.Our Ambassador H.E.Shri Sanjay Kumar Verma added that about 500 inquiries were generated.200 of tem have possibility of enrollment in the participating universities from India. This is close to 8% of annual intake of Sudanese students in India. Did you know that according to a conservative estimate, Sudanese students contribute about $50 million annually to the education providers in India?