Tue, Dec 6, 2016 | updated 02:12 AM IST

India, Nigeria ink one MOU and four Letters of Intent

Updated: Sep 28, 2016 08:17 IST

By Amit Shankar

Abuja (Nigeria), Sept.28 (ANI): Economic Relations Secretary Amar Sinha has said one Mutual of Understanding (MOU) on Standards and four Letters Of Intent related to the health sector, transfer of prisoners, renewable energies and customs have been signed between India and Nigeria.

"There was only one MOU signed, which was on standards between our Bureau of Standards and Nigerian Standard Organisation, but we did sign because there were number of MOUs that were at very advanced stages of consideration, but they could not be finalised in time because of certain difficulties like understanding procedural delays, or even interpretation. So, what we did is we signed letters of intent outlining four MOUs which we would work towards, one - Cooperation in health sector, two - Transfer of sentenced prisoners, three - Renewable energies and four - Customs cooperation," he said.

Sinha said the meeting between Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari held on Tuesday, was focused upon range of issue covering Information and technology, agriculture, defence cooperation and civil use of nuclear energy.

He said that Nigeria has expressed its interest in collaborating with Indian rice producers in the area of rice processing technology and was willing to produce more pulses for Indian markets.

"Agriculture was a key focus for them, both in terms of supplier of pulses, they were encouraged by the fact that India has huge demand and they have land and they feel that they could produce pulses for Indian market. Besides, they would want to collaborate in rice production they now that they can grow rice but they need a rice processing technology and rice mills that was something they wanted to collaborate with Indian rice producers," Sinha said.

Acknowledging Nigeria as the major power in Africa, the Economic Relations Secretary said that it has an important say in key areas like United Nations Security Council reforms.

Sinha said that India, during the delegation-level talks, has offered assistance in the area of space technology and applications of remote sensing. He said that the Nigerian government is willing to send a team to look at facilities and applications on the civil use of nuclear energy.

"We offered assistance, during the delegation-level talks, in the areas of space technology and applications and remote sensing. We have invited their delegation to see our capabilities and discover areas that they can collaborate with India. Similarly, on applications of nuclear energy, they could be sending a team to look at our various facilities and various applications that we have put in place," he said.

He said that the talks were aimed at taking the strategic partnership established in 2007 forward and to the next level, and therefore, it was necessary to give 'more content' and increase the area of cooperation between both countries.

Vice President Ansari is on a five-day official visit to Nigeria and Mali as part of efforts to bolster New Delhi's ties with both West African nations.

The historic State visit to Nigeria by then prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in October 2007 after a gap of over forty five years elevated the strategic partnership.

Nigeria is India's largest trading partner in Africa with the bilateral trade amounting to USD 12.6 billion in 2015-16.

India is also the largest buyer of crude oil from Nigeria, and more than 100 Indian companies have a large presence there as well as both the countries have strong defence cooperation.

On the second leg of his trip, the Vice President will reach Mali on September 29 for the first ever high-level visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Modibo Keita. (ANI)