EAM Jaishankar stresses mutual cooperation during Nigeria visit; pushes for global south solidarity

Mr. Jaishankar co-chaired the 6th Joint Commission Meeting between India and Nigeria at Abuja

January 23, 2024 07:40 am | Updated 07:40 am IST - Abuja/Lagos

Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria Yusuf Maitama Tuggar during the 6th India-Nigeria Joint Commission Meeting, in Abuja.

Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria Yusuf Maitama Tuggar during the 6th India-Nigeria Joint Commission Meeting, in Abuja. | Photo Credit: PTI

Drawing strength from the diplomatic relations between India and Nigeria that have “existed for a very long time”, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on January 22 said the two nations have agreed to strengthen people-to-people exchanges, energy, mobility and a slew of other sectors.

Mr. Jaishankar co-chaired the 6th Joint Commission Meeting between India and Nigeria at Abuja along with his counterpart Yusuf Tuggar also discussed opportunities in the sectors of power, renewables, transport, healthcare, fintech, agriculture and security between the two countries.

“Co-chaired the 6th 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," Mr. Jaishankar said in a post on X.

He arrived in the Nigerian capital Abuja from Lagos, where he reached on Sunday after attending the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Uganda.

Mr. Jaishankar recalled the presence of Nigerian President Tinubu during the G20 summit held in New Delhi in September 2023.

"I think many of you know that today the term strategic partnership is laden with a lot of meaning, with a lot of content and with a lot of promise. So, when we look ahead at what is the working of the Joint Commission, I think we will be guided very much by that," Mr. Jaishankar, who is on his first visit to Nigeria, said.

Terming Nigeria as an important business partner of India, Jaishankar said, “We have about 130 Indian companies that have really put their economic future, struck roots in this country, to a point where they have actually become one of the largest employers in this country.” Addressing a joint press conference with his Nigerian counterpart, Jaishankar said: “Our effort today is … at a time when technology is changing, economics is changing, world politics is changing … how do we build a relationship which is in tune with the needs of the future for two democratic countries with an inclusive socio-economic outlook.”

“One of the agreements we signed was on solar energy. We will see cooperation on green and clean growth. Secondly, Nigeria and India both face health challenges. How do we make medicines and health facilities affordable and accessible,” he said, adding, “There will be new things happening in the relationship. They will take into account new technologies and new capabilities between our two countries. It’s a very forward-looking relationship that we envisage.” Before the Join Commission meeting, Jaishankar addressed two business forum meetings, addressed a Nigerian think tank, met with the Indian community and unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi.

“Glad to address the India-Nigeria Business Forum organised by CII and NICCI. Underlined that deepening our economic partnership is key to the expansion of our ties. Encouraged businesses to enhance their networking, identify regulatory and policy impediments and utilize opportunities,” Mr. Jaishankar posted on X after the address.

After meeting with the diaspora, he posted on X: “Visited the Indian High Commission in Abuja. Unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi and planted a sapling in the High Commission premises. Thank members of the Indian community for joining on the occasion.” In Lagos, the External Affairs Minister, while addressing the Nigerian Institute Of International Affairs (NIIA), said Global South is about a "mindset, a solidarity and a self-reliance" and without the advancement of the Global South, the world is not going to see planetary progress.

“The global agenda today is on promoting rebalancing and multipolarity, thereby restoring the world to its natural diversity,” he said, adding, “The global conversation today is focussing "on the advancement of the Global South because without the advancement of the Global South, we are not going to see planetary progress.”

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