Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, has said that his country is proud to be Nigeria’s largest trading partner.
Thakur, who stated this during India’s 73rd Independence Day celebration in Abuja, disclosed that its trade with Nigeria grew by nearly 18 per cent in 2018, amounting to $14 billion.
The Indian High Commissioner further said Nigeria alone accounted for 20 percent of India’s trade with Africa.
“So, I think it is a very special day for us today to be able to celebrate this occasion with our Nigerian friends,” Thakur said.
Earlier, Thakur recalled the growing diplomatic ties between India and Nigeria which, he said, required even greater significance.
He noted the first visit by the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs immediately after the swearing-in of President Muhammadu Buhari, on the June 12 Democracy Day.
The envoy added that India has had a whole range of important exchanges with West Africa, disclosing it was looking forward to the first Joint Commission later in 2019.
He also said India was looking forward to cooperating with Nigeria in maritime security as well as greater collaboration and growing trade between the two countries. Thakur recalled the re-elected Government of India, was a very opportune time for India and Indians in the Diaspora.
“And when I say Diaspora, actually, it also very much means our foreign partners because it is our very close relations with a number of countries, including and especially in Africa and once again, especially with Nigeria, that these occasions have greater significance.
“There is a very large, thriving Indian community in Nigeria, numbering almost 50,000. They are contributing from various walks of life, they are not only doing their own business, but also employing a very large number of Nigerians,” Thakur also said.