Abuja — India has called for the strengthening of bilateral ties with Nigeria, especially in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable development and other environmental challenges.
The newly-posted Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur, made the call yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Environment, Hassan Suleiman Zarma, in Abuja.
The Indian envoy recalled that Nigeria and his country have always enjoyed healthy and strategic cooperation with some Indian teachers and doctors even taking permanent residence in Nigeria in the past.
According to him, "It is very encouraging to note that the relationship between our two countries dates back to three to four generations, with our doctors and teachers contributing their quota to Nigeria's healthcare and education respectively.
"Nigeria is indeed a very hospitable country as most of them do not want to leave Nigeria anymore."
Thakur, therefore, called for renewed cooperation and collaboration between the two countries, owing to the fact that Nigeria has the highest population in Africa, and India, with a staggering population of over 900 million, is world's third most populous nation.
He noted that there was need for both countries to mutually synergise and speak with one voice on global environmental issues at international stage, assuring stakeholders that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on renewable energy between the two countries will soon be signed.
In his remarks, the minister reaffirmed the existing healthy bilateral relations between Nigeria and India, stressing that the relationship has benefited both countries in education, health care and economic development.
He informed his guest that he was a direct beneficiary of the relationship as he was taught by Indian teachers.
Zarma disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has just ratified the International Solar Alliance and expressed optimism that the president will soon append his signature.
He observed that Nigeria is bedeviled with a lot of ecological challenges that require the support and assistance from countries that had already tackled those challenges.
"We request for the support of your country to address some of our issues and concerns with bio-safety at the forefront of the challenges," Zarma said.