India has become one of the first nations to accord diplomatic recognition to South Sudan, the world's youngest country, which split away from the Khartoum-ruled north after decades of a brutal war that claimed nearly 20 lakh lives.
The recognition was accorded through a letter by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to South Sudan's new President General Salva Kiir Mayardit, shortly after he assumed power at the Independence Day function in Juba on Saturday.
"On this historic occasion, the government of India extends formal recognition to the independent state of South Sudan," the prime minister's letter said.
The letter was handed over to General Mayardit by India's ambassador to Sudan A K Pandey, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs Sanjay Singh told reporters.
Officials accompanying Vice President Hamid Ansari, who attended South Sudan's Independence Day function, said that India would soon be appointing its ambassador in Juba. At present, India has a Consul General in Juba.
A colourful ceremony, which marked the historic occasion -- the birth of a new nation -- was attended among others by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and United Nations chief Ban Ki Moon. South Sudan would hence be the 193rd country to be recognised by the UN and the 54th member state from Africa.
Earlier on Friday, Sudan extended official recognition to South Sudan, calling it an independent state.
Before attending sIndependence Day celebrations in Juba on Saturday, Ansari held wide-ranging talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
They discussed piracy emanating from Somalia and agreed that the menace on the high seas should be dealt with in a multi-pronged manner. During their 45-minute talks, the two sides felt that assistance should be directed to Somalian authorities to deal with piracy.
The two leaders also discussed the situation in Libya and agreed with the view and efforts of the African Union that the conflict there should be resolved through dialogue, Singh said.
The situation in India's neighbourhood, including Afghanistan, also figured prominently during the parleys. Besides, the two sides discussed issues related to Indian investment in Uganda which is to the tune of over a billion dollar now, Indian High Commissioner to Uganda S Ray said.
Issues related to trade and investment in industry, technology, agriculture, including tea and dairy sectors, besides those in the fields of education, human resource development and capacity building also figured during the talks.
Indian investment in the oil sector in Uganda also came up for discussion during Ansari's talks with the Ugandan president on Friday, Ray said.