By Temitope Ponle
India says it is exploring ways to improve its partnership with Nigeria as both countries marked 60 years of bilateral relations.
The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Nagabhushana Reddy, stated this on the side line of a high-level panel discussion on India-Nigeria relations in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that relations between both countries would be defined by a progressive agenda that is guided by the 10 principles on India-Africa relations recently announced by his government.
Reddy added that bilateral trade was “heavily” in favour of Nigeria with a volume of $12 billion.
“In this context, the priorities which we will like to set out of these 10 guiding principles are 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.”
He further highlighted areas that both countries shared collaborations in the 60 years of their relations.
“At the cusp of 60 years of 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.
Andrew 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 and 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 in 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.
Osuji called on the government to safeguard the relations between both countries and “genuinely learn from India”.
“India is self-sufficient and Nigeria stands to benefit a lot from the relations.”
Participants further recommended the need for Africa to develop solutions that would concretely address common issues with support from friendly countries like India.