Bashir heads to India in latest controversial trip

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir flew to India Wednesday despite a six-year-old arrest warrant against him from the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Sudanese news agency (Suna)onfirmed that the president had gone to participate alongside other African heads of state in the India-Africa summit being hosted in New Delhi.
Launched in 2008, the India-Africa forum is a strategic partnership aimed at revamping cooperation between India and African countries.
The spokesman of the Sudanese ministry of foreign affairs, Mr Ali al-Sadig, told Africa Review that President Bashir was sent an invitation by the Indian government.
He added that Sudan is seeking to strengthen ties with India. The two sides are expected to sign some economic cooperation agreements during the visit.
President Bashir was accompanied by a high-level delegation that included the minister for Cabinet Affairs, Mr Fadul Abdullah, the minister for Finance, Mr Badr Eldin Mahomoud, and the minister for Electricity, Mr Mutaz Musa.
Rome Statute
In statement issued last week, the ICC prosecutor’s office had called on India to arrest the Sudanese leader once he sets foot in the country, stressing that the Indian government should meet its international obligations in this regard.
However, India is not a party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC.
President Bashir’s trips abroad have become controversial because of the efforts by the ICC to have him arrested. He was indicted in 2009 for alleged war crimes in Darfur province.
His visit to South Africa last June for an African Union summit turned dramatic when a South African court ordered his arrest. But the authorities shielded him and quickly whisked him out of the country.
He had visited China in 2011 when his plane was forced to skirt the airspace of Turkmenistan but, undaunted, he was he back in China in September this year.
The defiant president has also made many other trips abroad, including to Mauritania, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.