India welcomes outcome of referendum in southern Sudan

New Delhi: India on Monday welcomed the outcome of the last month`s referendum in which southern Sudan voted for independence in a "credible and peaceful manner" and said it looks forward to working closely with both sides in Sudan.

"India welcomes the successful conclusion of the referendum held in Southern Sudan in which its people have voted overwhelmingly for a separate state of South Sudan, in a credible and peaceful manner," Ministry of External Affairs said in a release here.

It said India "looks forward to working closely with and to extending all possible assistance to both sides in Sudan, with whom she has friendly and traditional ties."

As part of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement which ended the civil war between North and South Sudan, a referendum was held in the first half of January on the possibility of independence.

Nearly 99 per cent of southern Sudanese chose to split from the north in the landmark January 9-15 referendum, which was a key plank of the 2005 peace agreement that ended a devastating 22-year war between the black Christian-dominated south and the mainly Arab Muslim and Muslim north, in which about two million people died.

"This is a momentous development in the history of South Sudan and India congratulates all parties for conducting the proceedings peacefully and amicably in achieving the important landmark of the comprehensive peace agreement of 2005, which India fully supports," it said.