Saturday, February 1, 2014

South Sudan conflict

South Sudan conflict
Why in news?
2 Indian peacekeepers were killed in ethnic clashes
Why conflict?
  • South Sudan became an independent nation in 2011
  • Its population comprises of several ethnic tribes
  • Nuers and Dinkas are two of largest tribes in the region
  • Its president Salva Kir belongs to Dinka tribe
  • In july 2013, he dismissed his deputy Macher on grounds that he was plotting a coup
    • Macher belongs to Nuer tribe
  • The political squabble has escalated into a tribal conflict

Impact of Conflict
  • Forces backing Mr Machar have seized the key oil producing regions like jonglei and unity state
  • However Kiir’s forces still control all or most of the country’s other seven states and has upper hand in terms of supplies, arms and international support.
UN mission in south sudan[UNMISS]
  • India has lost seven of its soldiers this year in the world’s newest country who were part of UN peacekeeping mission in south sudan
  • UNMISS was setup in 2011 to support state building and economic development
  • peacekeepers are deployed in small numbers across South Sudan in remote and inaccessible areas and are in the frontline of the “brunt of the violence” while protecting large numbers of civilian refugees in their camps.
  • India is a major contributor of troops to this mission
  • UNSC has approved doubling of strength of UN peacekeepers to handle the crisis

Current situation
·         Two sides are holding ceasefire talks as a first step towards resolving the conflict
·         But fighting continues to rage
·         On-going crisis may hit oil supplies from sudan which could have repercussions on world markets and will also hit finances of south sudan government
    • Oil revenue makes up 98% of south sudan’s budget
  • Hopes that regional leaders might mediate a ceasefire are bleak
  • Uganda a major regional power is supporting Salva Kiir with hope of getting South sudan to transport oil through Uganda rather than Sudan
  • Sudan has so far stayed away from conflict but it could be tempted to intervene to protect its own interests in oil fields close to the border
  • Way forward is to negotiate for a new power sharing agreement
India’s interests in the region
  • India’s investments have been mainly in the energy sector.
  • Most of these assets are located in South Sudan.
  • conflict and instability in the region will have an adverse impact on India.