India and Nigeria are working out modalities to strengthen collaboration to boost infrastructure and solar energy capacity of Nigeria to generate the much needed power to drive the economy. There indications also that both countries will push other areas such as finance technology (Fintech) Artificial Intelligence and defence cooperation.
The new High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, Gangadharan Balasubramanian assured the collaborative effort will assist Nigeria curb infrastructure deficit in the country and help to improve solar energy, Finance technology(Fintech) and Artificial Intelligence capacities of Nigeria.
The envoy said this while fielding questions from reporters during events organised to mark the 76th anniversary of India in Abuja, recently as both countries cooperate to improve their bilateral ties.
About 135 Indian companies are already in Nigeria working at various levels to improve Nigeria’s infrastructure.
“We are ready for that, we have many Indian companies both public and private sector which are ready to do this but we will be more than happy to participate in the joint development of infrastructure as designed by the Nigerian government.
“Some Indian companies are also working in developing Nigeria’s transport infrastructure corridor in Lagos and we are developing solar energy and transmission lines in the Cross-River state,” he said.
Both countries established diplomatic ties in 1958 prior to Nigeria’s independence and the relations are cordial and productive from that time as both countries have cooperated at bilateral and multilateral levels.
“Since then, our relationship has developed in a variety of ways, almost in all places.
“Human capacity development is one of the most important areas in which we are concentrating and we are very happy that with the assistance and cooperation of successive Nigerian governments, we can now say that our relationship is very strong and very cordial,” Balasubramanian said.
India has one of the highest in terms of installed capacity of solar energy in the world contributing about 6.5% to the global cumulative capacity in early 2022.
It is therefore apt that Nigeria’s collaboration with India can go a long way to improve Nigeria’s solar energy capacity in particular and and the renewable energy sector in general.
On the security challenges in Nigeria, the envoy noted that the military and defence cooperation between India and Nigeria is such that many of the defence training of Nigerian military officers took place in military installations and training institutes in India.
Balasubramanian added that India will be happy to continue with the partnership and in cooperation with the Federal Government; India is ready to assist in that direction.
The bilateral relations have also made significant impact in the volume of trade between both countries. The trade volume between both countries hit $14.95 billion in 2021.
The trade volume increased substantially after COVID-19 on both ways, as India remains a major importer of oil from Nigeria while Nigeria imports pharmaceutical products, textile and agriculture products from India.
“Nearly about $10 billion worth of oil is being imported from Nigeria. India also exports various issues from agricultural products, to petroleum products, to pharmaceuticals, to textiles.
“So, there is a large possibility of increasing this trade and economic cooperation between our two countries,” he said.
The bilateral relations between both countries could provide more opportunities if the Nigerian Government sets its priorities right.