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India-Nigeria bond underpinned by administrations that doesn’t leave anyone behind: EAM Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Nigerian Foreign Minister Yusuf Tuggar (Photo: @DrSJaishankar)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar chaired the sixth India-Nigeria Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) with his counterpart Yusuf Tuggar on Monday (local time) and discussed new opportunities of cooperation in various sectors.

“Co-chaired the 6th India-Nigeria Joint Commission Meeting along with FM @YusufTuggar. Noted the expansion of our economic cooperation especially trade and investment. Discussed new opportunities in energy, power, renewables, transport, healthcare, fintech, agriculture and security,” Jaishankar posted on X.

“Agreed to strengthen people-to-people exchanges, mobility and consular cooperation. India and Nigeria also cooperate closely in multilateral forums and will take that tradition forward,” he added.

Speaking on the age-old relationship between the two countries, he said that the strong bonding is underpinned by two administrations which believe that no one should be left behind.

Addressing the meeting, Jaishankar said, “India and Nigeria share a long-standing and friendly relationship which is rooted in history. We are the largest democracies of the world and are the leaders in our continents. In recent years, this has been renewed by contacts between our leaderships”.

“What underpins our bond, is today, we have administrations in the two countries, that truly believes that no one should be left behind. And it is this inclusive approach, which I think creates a strong bonding between us and allows us to work so closely in international organizations,” he added.

The EAM also emphasised that a large number of Indian companies have made huge investments in Nigeria are among the largest employers in the country.

“Today as an economic partner of Nigeria, whose investments are estimated broadly at about USD 27 billion, which has an annual trade turnover with this country of somewhere between USD 13-15 billion,” Jaishankar said.

He added, “When we have about 130 Indian companies who have really put their economic future struck roots in this country to a point where actually they have become one of the largest employers in this country, I think there is a very, very strong foundation on which we would be building”.

After the conclusion of the meeting, Jaishankar also addressed a joint press conference with counterpart Tuggar and said that he was satisfied with the discussions.

He also elaborated on the agreements signed between the two countries ranging from the areas of solar energy, health and transportation, adding that the two countries are also looking at the use of digital technology for cashless payments.

“One of the agreements we signed was on solar energy, so we are going to see a lot more cooperation in the field of green and clean energy. Nigeria and India, we both face health challenges. So, how do we make medicines accessible, affordable, how can we work on transportation, other forms of energy. We are even looking at how do we use digital technology for cashless payments,” the EAM further said.

EAM Jaishankar is on a visit to Nigeria from January 21-23.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar addressed the India-Nigeria Business Forum. He also addressed the Nigerian Institute Of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos on India and the Global South.

He also visited the Indian High Commission in Abuja. There, he unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi and planted a sapling in the High Commission premises.

India and Nigeria have traditionally enjoyed close and friendly relations. This is EAM’s first visit to Nigeria, which will further consolidate bilateral relations between the two countries, according to Ministry of External Affairs release.

Prior to this, he also led the Indian delegation at the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), to be held in Kampala, Uganda. He met several foreign leaders and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the summit.