By Temitope Ponle
India is set to cooperate with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, says Mr Abhay Thakur, India’s High Commissioner to Nigeria.
Thakur said this in an interview on the sideline of a reception to mark the 70th Republic Day of India in Abuja on Friday night.
The envoy said it was necessary for both countries to tackle the scourge together in the light of evolving acts of terrorism globally.
“We do have discussions in the framework of our constituencies, particularly between the foreign offices, as well as between our concerned agencies.
“However, it is important that we upgrade this dialogue. There are some global entities which have global reach, and we need to tackle them together.
“There is a very clear involvement of Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) in some of the activities of terrorism witnessed in Nigeria. At the same time, ISIS has been talked about as a factor involved in anti-India activities.
“We look forward to a structured dialogue, particularly in the area of counter-terrorism between India and Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking on the forthcoming elections in Nigeria, the high commissioner wished the country peaceful and efficient conduct of the elections.
“This year is also a politically significant election year for Nigeria and India.
“Both our elections promise to be historic, strengthening the foundations of our countries and paving the way for our respective economic growth.
He reiterated that Nigeria and India were celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations, adding that both countries were set to strengthen cooperation in the years ahead.
The envoy restated his government’s optimism in signing several agreements with Nigeria aimed at enhancing relations between both countries.
“I am very happy that some of the other foundational agreements particularly the double taxation agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding on Customs Matters are being taken forward.
“When it comes to double taxation and customs, investments protection are very important and will further boost to our relations. I am looking forward to their signing this year.”
Thakur said India would continue to encourage private sector investment in Nigeria in the areas of infrastructure, education and health.
He added that both countries would move their economic collaboration to the next level through “enhanced connectivity, larger projects and greater flow of tourism.”
He further said that India would set up a convention centre in Nigeria, named after Mahatma Gandhi, in addition to the 10 billion dollars in Lines of Credit to development projects in Africa.
The envoy added that the centre would be a symbol of India-Africa cooperation and would celebrate 150th year of Gandhi.
“We hope that we can quickly work out the modalities and the land for its construction with the government of Nigeria and start off its construction.
“If we can award the works early, we can complete it in the next two years. It will be India’s gift to Nigeria.”