The discussion on the entire gamut of India-Nigeria bilateral relations was held in virtual mode.
The foreign ministers’ discussions covered a wide spectrum of cooperation on political, economic and trade, defense and security, developmental assistance, and cultural cooperation. India and Nigeria have extensive cooperation in the field of defense training and capacity building, and it is expanding to newer areas such as defense equipment support, medical and maintenance services, sharing of R&D expertise for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. India-Nigeria will also be holding the next meeting of the Joint Defense Cooperation Committee later this year in Abuja.
With a bilateral trade turnover of USD 13.9 billion in 2019-20, India is Nigeria’s largest trading partner, and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa. Nigeria is a leading energy security partner of India, and both sides have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in this sector including at Government to Government level.
The two Ministers acknowledged ongoing collaborative efforts through information sharing between the Indian and Nigerian Navies and increase of surveillance for Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. India had participated in the G7 plus Friends of Gulf of Guinea (G7++FoFF) online meeting last month and has extended its maritime security training programs to Nigeria. Last year, Nigeria had helped in the safe release of 44 Indian seafarers taken hostage in three separate incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. During the meeting both the leader emphasized that terrorism is a scourge and a threat to the entire world, and condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including violent extremism.
Both sides also agreed to expand cooperation in Information Technology (IT), Defense and solar energy projects to be executed through the Indian Line of Credit (LoC). Both the leaders also agreed to further strengthen their cooperation and mutual support in multilateral fora including the UN and WTO.
The Nigerian foreign minister expressed appreciation to India for the recent donation of medical supplies in support of the on-going fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. India has also organized recent E-Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programs in COVID management and Nigeria was one of the participants in the ITEC program. EAM Jaishankar reiterated India’s continued support in technical cooperation and capacity building in diverse sectors of interest to Nigeria.
Report by Abhishek Jha