Nigeria and India seek new areas of partnership

Adoba Echono, Abuja

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Nigeria and India are exploring new areas of partnership as both countries mark 60 years of bilateral relations.

The Indian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Ambassador Nagabushana Reddy stated this in Abuja at an event to commemorate 60 years of bilateral engagement between both countries.

To also commemorate the 60 years of friendship, the Indian High Commission also constituted a high level panel discussion featuring trade experts from African countries, to share experiences on exploring ways India can actively contribute to the development.

Ambassador Reddy adjudged the six decades old engagement between both countries as successful, while stating that more grey areas to strengthen, especially as the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Mordi recently announced 10 guideline principles to guide India-Africa bilateral cooperation.

The envoy reiterated that bilateral relations between both countries would be defined by a progressive agenda and be guided by the 10 principles on India-Africa relations recently announced by his government.

Ambassador Reddy restated that bilateral trade between the two countries was in favour of Nigeria with a bilateral trade volume of $12 billion.

“In this context, the priorities which we will like to set out of these 10 guiding principles agriculture, how to address climate change, how to collectively fight the scourge of terrorism, create employment and enhance investments.

“The focus will also be to engage the two countries so that the priorities of the countries are considered and we have also talked about how Indian markets will be open for more goods coming from Africa.

“We will like include that in the Nigerian context as the largest trading partner and have more products manufactured in Nigeria exported to India, not just remain an oil-export country.”

He further highlighted areas that both countries shared collaborations in the 60 years of their relations.

“At the cusp of 60 years or engagement between India and Nigeria, we have developed a unique connect in diverse areas: diversity, democratic, demographic, development, defence, trade energy, business, agriculture, medical, education and people-to-people connect.”

A representative of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Mr. Nkemnema Andrew, recommended that both countries partner in the area of climate change to address issues of insecurity in the country.

Mr. Andrew, who was also one of the panelists, urged the India Government to share its experience with Nigeria in the area of peaceful coexistence.

“We can use the 10 guiding principles of India in line with the mandate of the institute to address the issues of climate change which is one of the root causes of herders/ farmers clashes.

“We need to collaborate in the area of peace building and with the experiences we have at 60, let us use our relations to fight our common enemies.”

A former permanent secretary to the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Ndubisi Osuji, called for enhanced relations in the areas of technology and human capacity building.

Mr. Osuji called on the Nigerian government to safeguard the relations between both countries and “genuinely learn from India”.

Generally, experts at the panel agreed that India is self-sufficient and Nigeria stands to learn and benefit a lot from the relations.