By Temitope Ponle
India’s Vice-President Hamid Ansari has said his country was exploring new areas of cooperation with Nigeria.
At a reception held for him at the Indian High Commission in Abuja on Monday night, Ansari reiterated that India was Nigeria’s biggest trade partner as both countries shared similarities in different areas of development.
“I don’t have to educate you on the current levels of our relationship; we are Nigeria’s biggest trading partner.
“Nigeria is a major supplier of energy to us, but above all there is a convergence of interest on global matters which is extremely important.
“Both of us play an important role on the world stage in decisions that have been made; we contribute the maintenance of peace in different parts of the world.’’
Both countries, he said, have common aspirations and a vision of a future image.
He said that the diversity of India was replicated in Nigeria in terms of languages and culture; “we both have a dedication to develop our societies’’.
“I look forward to meeting with dignitaries and exploring new areas in which we would cooperate with each other in terms of the agreements that were made earlier,” Ansari said.
He added that both countries cooperated in the areas of business, energy, defence and security, education, among others.
“The corporation is substantial, it is diverse. The contribution of Indian teachers in different parts of this country in educating the citizens will never be forgotten.
“Similarly, the training that members of the armed forces of Nigeria obtained in the past and continue to obtain today in defence institutions in India, and the corporation that is developing in that field is something which will be long remembered.”
Ansari is on a five-day visit to Nigeria and Mali, where he will hold bilateral talks with the leadership of the two countries.
His visit to Nigeria is at the invitation of his Nigerian counterpart, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Ansari will also hold talks with President Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Senate, Sen, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Yakubu Dogara, and deliver an address at the National Defence College of Nigeria.
He is also expected to meet with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwumi Ambode, and deliver an address at a business forum at the University of Lagos.
Ansari is expected to be in Mali on Thursday to meet with the president, the prime minister and also address the National Assembly of that country. (NAN)