Bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and India deepened last year with trade between the two countries rising by 34 per cent to reach $ 17.3 billion by March 31, 2012, making India Nigeria's second largest trading partner. The country's High Commissioner to Nigeria Mahesh Sachdev said this at a reception to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of India's Republic Day.
The high commissioner remarked that despite various challenges, trade between the two countries has continued to increase with expectations of a healthy figure for this year as well, albeit with more balanced trade.
Indian investments in Nigeria, too, according to him, have continued to rise with two multi-billion petrochemical complexes and a primary alcohol plant among noteworthy projects which took shape in Nigeria during the past year. Similar progress was achieved in people-to-people domain with nearly 39,600 Indian visas issued in 2012, he added.
"Among the esteemed visitors to my country during last year were former President Olusegun Obasanjo and at least 9 Nigerian Ministers and 4 Governors. Such visits underscored traditional amity and contributed immensely to bilateral understanding. In the same domain, a record number of Nigerian professionals availed of training fellowships under ITEC and IAFS-II programmes. Enthusiastic partnership by various Nigerian stakeholders was indispensible for these achievements. I am grateful for their contribution", he said.
Apart from Nigeria, the high commissioner is also responsible for India's ties with Republics of Benin, Cameroon and Chad as well as the ECOWAS. During past one year, he acknowledged that ties with these three countries and ECOWAS continued to gain substance through visits, trade, investments, people to people ties, training fellowships and Indian assisted projects.
"Wholesome cooperation from the High Commissioner of Cameroon and Ambassadors of Benin and Chad helped overcome the logistical, linguistic and other challenges. I am deeply indebted to them. India shares the high democratic ideals with Nigeria.
We are two large, multi-ethnic, multi-religious countries engaged in creating a tolerant, forward-looking democratic society at home and peaceful, terror-free world at large", he said.