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India to help boost Nigeria’s air defences


Abuja : India and Nigeria were collaborating to boost the West African country’s air defences, Indian High Commissioner Mahesh Sachdev has said.

Both countries had a long standing defence cooperation, shared values and shared history, Xinhua quoted Sachdev as saying at a forum in Kaduna state.

“We are very keen to promote this in the context of different kinds of challenges that Nigeria faces and we want to contribute to the enthronement of democratic values and tolerance in Nigeria society,” Sachdev said.

“We are waiting for our Nigerian brothers to indicate the areas in which they will like us to collaborate with them and we will be happy to consider everything they request for,” the Indian envoy said.

Relations between Nigeria and India have always been warm and friendly.

India established a diplomatic mission in Nigeria in 1958, even before Nigeria became independent in 1960. With a population of 158 million and considerable revenue from oil exports, Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in Africa. Bilateral annual trade turnover exceeded $8.7 billion in 2009-10, according to the website of the Indian embassy to Nigeria.

Over 100 Indian companies are estimated to have footprints in Nigeria. Prominent among them being Bharti Airtel, Tata, Bajaj Auto, Birla Group, Kirloskar, Mahindra, Ashok Leyland and New India Assurance.

There is an estimated 35,000 people of Indian origin in Nigeria. The community runs an Indian Language School in Lagos with nearly 2,000 students.