The Second round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between India and Nigeria was held on Thursday in New Delhi, where the delegations of both sides discussed various ways to strengthen the multifaceted relations between the two countries.
"2nd India-Nigeria Foreign Office Consultations held in New Delhi. Both sides reviewed bilateral ties covering political, economic, defence, development partnership, consular matters. Discussed ways to further deepen bilateral relations, especially trade and investment linkages," Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs said in a tweet.
As per a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs, the visiting Nigerian delegation was led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Gabriel Aduda, while Dammu Ravi, Secretary (ER), Ministry of External Affairs represented India in the FOC.
The two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations covering political, economic and commercial investment, defence and security, development partnership, capacity building, cultural and consular matters, the MEA statement added.
Both sides also discussed ways to further strengthen the close bilateral ties between India and Nigeria. The two sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest and agreed to enhance their cooperation in the multilateral fora.
The FOC was chaired by Sevala Naik Mude, JS (C&WA), Ministry of External Affairs and Ambassador Mustapha Tunde Mukaila, Director Regions, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria.
The talks were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere. Both sides agreed to hold the next consultations at Abuja (Nigeria) at a mutually convenient date, the MEA statement said.
Relations between India and Nigeria have traditionally been warm and are based on shared historical ties, values of democracy and vision. There have been regular visits taking place from both sides.
Defence cooperation between the two countries has been nurtured over the years, and India had helped Nigeria in setting up its Defence Academy.
As part of capacity building under ITEC, India offers over 250 slots annually, which are being utilised optimally. Under this framework, several Nigerian senior military officers were trained in India, including two former Presidents and the present incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari.
The bilateral trade and Indian investment in Nigeria have been growing steadily. The bilateral trade during 2021-22 was USD 14.95 billion, with India importing oil to the tune of USD10 billion.
India is one of the largest investors in Nigeria. Indian investment in Nigeria is estimated at approximately USD 19.3 billion. More than 135 Indian companies are currently operating in Nigeria in diverse fields such as pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, electrical machinery and equipment, plastics, chemicals, etc.
Both sides exchanged views on how to deepen trade links through the use of national currencies, Development Projects and Institution building in a manner that would be mutually beneficial.
India is a preferred destination for higher education and medical tourism to Nigerians. Over 50,000 Indian professionals are working in Nigeria, contributing significantly to the economy of Nigeria. (ANI)