Arun Mohan Sukumar
India will not support ongoing US efforts at the United Nations to impose sanctions against South Sudan, The Sunday Express has learnt.
On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced — for the first time since conflict broke out in the world’s newest republic last year — economic sanctions against key parties on both sides of the conflict. Subsequently, US representative to the UN Samantha Powers suggested the US will seek “targeted sanctions on those who undermine South Sudan’s stability”.
The Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Mission to the UN are yet to comment formally on Powers’s statement, but sources suggest India will be reluctant to join US efforts to introduce such punitive measures, “irrespective of their purpose”. South Sudan is experiencing a civil war drawn along ethnic lines after Vice-President Riek Machar’s purported attempt to seize power from President Salva Kiir in December 2013.
India has significant commercial stakes in the region, with oil from Sudan and South Sudan contributing about eight per cent of ONGC Videsh Ltd’s overall production in the previous financial year. ONGC has invested $2.5 billion in South Sudan’s oil economy, but was forced to shelve operations after the onset of civil war. India is concerned its “legitimate trade interests” will be affected by the sanctions, sources told The Sunday Express. India has retained essential embassy personnel in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.
US-led efforts to impose sanctions on South Sudan have gained momentum at the UN. The UN Mission in South Sudan submitted a report last week to the UN Secretary General on rights violations, concluding that “crimes against humanity” had been committed. It recommended a “special tribunal” to probe the crimes.