Sudan crisis has the African continent as well the world worried as the fighting between military factions continues in Khartoum. Concerns range from water supplies and oil pipelines to a new humanitarian crisis in the making. Read here to learn more about the crisis and the history of the conflict.
India and other countries have begun preparations for the evacuation of foreign nationals presently situated in different parts of Sudan which have seen intense fighting between the army and a paramilitary force.
Sudan crisis is causing alarm among its neighbors and other nations, which ranges from worries about the shared Nile and oil pipelines to worries about the makeup of a future government and the potential for a fresh humanitarian disaster.
Sudan, which is largely dependent on international help, has experienced violence before. This time, war is destroying the nation’s capital rather than a remote portion of the country, which is located in an unstable territory bordering the Red Sea, Sahel, and the Horn of Africa.
History of Sudan
The ongoing conflict represents the latest crisis in the North African nation, which has contended with numerous coups and periods of civil strife since becoming independent in 1956.
The area comprising present-day Sudan and South Sudan was subject to conquest and colonization for millennia.
The prehistory of Sudan dates back to the 8th-5th millennium BCE when migrations from the drying Sahara brought Neolithic people into the Nile Valley along with agriculture.
- The population resulted in the Kingdom of Kush by 1700 BCE which was located along the Nile region in present-day northern Sudan.
- The proximity of Sudan to Egypt makes their histories greatly intertwined.
The northern Sudan region was frequently mentioned in ancient Egyptian sources as Kush. For about 2000 years, the region was influenced by the Old Kingdom of Egypt.
- Till about 1720 BCE, the middle kingdom of Egypt had control over the Kush regions.
- After Egyptian power was revived during the New Kingdom (1570–1100 BCE), the pharaoh Ahmose I incorporated Kush as an Egyptian-ruled province governed by a viceroy.
The region was an important part of the 25th dynasty of Egypt or the Nubian Dynasty.
- The Kushites adopted Egyptian ways and worshipped the Egyptian gods by this time.
The Christianization of Nubian kingdoms in the 6th century CE declined the Egyptian influence in the region.
The region of present Khartoum was important for the reason that the Blue and White Nile combined there to form the Nile.
Islam was already present on the Sudanese Red Sea coast and the adjacent territories since the 7th century, but the Nile Valley did not undergo Islamization until the 14th-15th century, following the decline of the Christian kingdoms.
- In the early 16th Century, the Ottoman Empire and Funj Sultanate conquered much of the former Nubian Empire.
By the 1820s, Muhammad Ali Pasha (suzerain of the Ottoman Sultan) of Egypt seized most of present-day Sudan and was known for his oppressive rule till 1848.
- During this time, British missionaries traveled from modern-day Kenya to Sudan to convert the local tribes to Christianity.
From 1885 to 1899, Muhammad Ahmad took over the region and established the Mahdist state, as a result of resentment against Turco-Egyptian and British rulers.
Since 1898, European countries like Belgium, and France along with the British started to claim various regions of Sudan.
- Finally, by 1900, an Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was established by other Europeans ceding territories to the British.
- Over the years, the discrimination between the southern and northern regions led to conflicts.
- In February 1953, the United Kingdom and Egypt concluded an agreement providing for Sudanese self-government and self-determination.
- By 1956, Sudan gained independence.
The history of Sudan has been marred by internal conflict since its independence in 1956, including the First Sudanese Civil War (1955–1972), the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005), and the War in Darfur (2003–2010), which culminated in the secession of South Sudan in 2011 and a subsequent civil war there (2013–2020).
Sudan crisis 2023
An apparent power struggle between the two major factions of Sudan’s military dictatorship led to the outbreak of violence.
The paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a group of militias, support the former warlord Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, while the Sudanese military forces generally support Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the de facto ruler of the nation.
- The power battle dates back to the years before a 2019 uprising that toppled tyrant, Omar al-Bashir. During that time, he amassed powerful security forces that he purposefully pitted against one another.
An ultimate clash looked imminent after attempts to transition to a democratic civilian-led administration failed after Bashir’s downfall, with diplomats in Khartoum warning that they expected such an eruption of violence in early 2022.
It is feared that the conflict may intensify, destabilize the area, and harm Sudan’s relationships with its neighbors.
- The western border of Chad with Sudan has already been sealed off.
- While the unrest in Khartoum was occurring, a few Egyptian troops were kidnapped in northern Sudan.
- Ethiopia, Sudan’s eastern neighbor, is currently suffering the effects of a two-year conflict in the Tigray area.
- And South Sudan, which achieved independence from Sudan in 2011 has been plagued by ethnic warfare ever since will be concerned about the expansion of turmoil in Sudan.
Global Concerns on Sudan Crisis
Sudan is located in an unstable region that borders the Red Sea, the Sahel, and the Horn of Africa.
The likelihood of a smooth transition to a civilian-led administration is hampered by its strategic location and agricultural resources, which have attracted regional power struggles.
Globally, countries are concerned about the escalation of the ongoing crisis in Sudan due to both personal vested interests as well as for the stability of Africa.
- Russia recently secured a deal to gain port access for its navy with al-Bashir. Along with US sanctions, the ongoing crisis will jeopardize Russia’s desire to expand its influence in the African regions.
- The US and other Western powers will be glad that al-Bashir is toppled, as he was charged with genocide and war crimes by the International Criminal Court over the Darfur conflict.
Significant geopolitical factors are also at play, as the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other countries compete for influence in Sudan.
- The transformation in Sudan has been viewed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as a chance to counteract Islamist influence in the area.
- They are members of the “Quad,” which also includes the US, Britain, and the UN, and has funded mediation in Sudan.
- Western nations are concerned about the possibility of a Russian facility on the Red Sea, which Sudanese military officials have agreed upon.
India’s Response to Sudan Crisis
India and Sudan have had relations since ancient times when the Nile Valley Civilization and the Indus Valley Civilization mutually interacted. The Nile and the Red Sea also provided well-known routes to Indian traders and visitors.
India and Sudan have maintained cordial and friendly relations.
- Sudan Block in India’s National Defence Academy was set up with the funding of one hundred thousand pounds from the Sudanese Government in recognition of the sacrifices of Indian troops in the liberation of Sudan in the North African Campaign during World War II.
India is the second largest exporter to Sudan after China.
- India mainly sells sugar and confectionery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, iron and steel, manufactured goods, textiles and apparel, foodstuffs, etc.
- India buys minerals and fuels, raw hides and skins, agricultural products, leather, metals, ores, etc.
The Sudan crisis has put thousands of Indian lives in danger in the capital city of Khartoum. As many as 4,000 Indians are currently trapped in the crisis-hit nation.
India is coordinating closely with various countries, including the US, the UK, and Saudi Arabia, to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals in violence-hit Sudan.
-Article written by Swathi Satish