“India is at present the largest trading partner of Nigeria globally and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner within Africa…”
– As 15,000 Indians live in Nigeria
Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nagabhushana Reddy, yesterday, declared that India is the largest trading partner of Nigeria in the world.
Reddy who spoke in Abuja during a High Level Panel Discussion on India-Nigeria relationship at 60, said Nigeria is home to the largest numbers of Indian population in West Africa.
Reddy who put the figures of Indians living in Nigeria at 15,000, said majority of them were in Lagos where they are involved in their business enterprises.
According to Reddy, “In this age of diplomacy where economic diplomacy takes primacy, relations are often assessed on the basis of the strength of this economic content that we have between the two countries. “I think on this call, our engagement stands out. India is at present the largest trading partner of Nigeria globally and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner within Africa and our bilateral trade last year registered about $12 billion,” Reddy said.
In the field of energy, Reddy said as India is seeking to diversify its energy resources; it found that Nigeria had taken a center stage.
Reddy said presently, Nigeria is the fourth largest supplier of crude oil to India and the second largest supplier of natural gas to India.
Reddy said: “So, this is another vital link that sustains our engagement. We have the business connect which has over 135 Indian companies currently operating in Nigeria with a large number of Nigerian brothers and sisters employed in these companies.”
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On the people-to-people connect, Reddy said Nigeria is the host to the largest Indian community in West Africa, adding that except for one or two countries, Nigeria also host the largest community of Indians in Africa.
Reddy further said 15,000 of them are living in different cities of Nigeria, with majority of the Indian nationals living in Lagos.
Speaking on the cooperation with India in the area of defence, the Executive Director, Nigerian Army Consult, Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf, said the Defence relations between Nigeria and India dates back to 1962 when Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa met his counterpart in India and requested for training and training support for young independent Nigerians.
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Yusuf said: “That training and training support has largely defined the defence relations between India and Nigeria. And that was what led to the establishment of the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1960 with Indian military officers as the pioneer instructors,” Yusuf said.