By Fortune Abang/Sarafina Christopher

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria Shri G. Balasubramanian says more than 135 Indian companies have so far invested $19 billion in Nigeria over the past four decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Balasubramanian, who said this when he paid a courtesy call to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja, hailed the mutual bilateral relations between India and Nigeria.

He said India-Nigeria relations had been excellent, saying the visit was to deepen exchanges of news and cultural programs between the two countries.

According to him, the visit seeks to promote ways in which India and Nigeria can cooperate through information sharing, news networks, among other things.

“Cultural relations, the connection between our people is really good and with your help I would certainly like to strengthen this bond.

“There are more than 135 Indian companies that have invested around $19 billion in Nigeria over a period of years, not in one year, but in the last four decades.

“Most of them are in Lagos, they are everywhere in Nigeria and they are in the manufacturing sector of the economy, steel, oil and gas or pharmaceuticals.

“$3 billion of that is pharmaceuticals made in Nigeria by Indian companies; there is a strong relationship that we have in pharmaceuticals and other business activities.

“Nigeria is home to some 60,000 living Indians who have literally made Nigeria their home for the last four decades.”

The envoy also promised to strengthen the relationship between his country and Nigeria, with the assistance of NAN management.

He said Nigeria’s invitation as a guest participant to the G20 Summit scheduled for 2023 in India would be a unique opportunity to show the priority of developing countries to the world.

He said that the importance of relations between the two countries was well known in India, hence Nigeria’s invitation to the Summit on September 9-10 in New Delhi.

The envoy listed the mission’s plans to welcome journalists from across West Africa on field visits to India with a renewed offer of 500 scholarships for Nigerians and promote the study of mass communication in India, in 2023.

In addition, he highlighted mission programs such as Indian National Day on January 26, Food Festival and Cooking Competition on January 28, and facilitating weekly “Yoga” exercise to boost healthy living.

In response, NAN Managing Director Mr. Buki Ponle praised Balasubramanian for the visit, saying it was apt to deepen relations on information exchange and news network between the two countries.

He said that the relationship between the mission and the agency started on a very pleasant note, adding that much would be done to explore other spheres to produce the best results for both countries.

Ponle said: “We are friends, we accommodate each other and we want to be friends forever for mutual benefit; it extends to us in NAN to see strangers as part of us.

“NAN and India share a common goal from the start, the agency was established by law in 1976 and we started operating in 1978 and by the way, I was a pioneer member of the staff.

“We also had a partnership with the Press Cross of India, we always went to India to do further studies in Mass Communication, but there was a stage when the deal was out of fashion.

“With a renewed relationship, we hope that the association will be reactivated; We will offer everything to make your stay highly rewarding in coverage areas, greater visibility and exposure.

“We are always at your service and that also translates into being available for your country activities in Nigeria and over there in India.”

He reiterated that such a practice would be informed by cultural and news exchange through the exchange of information and communication, as well as other areas that would be beneficial to both countries.

The managing director assured Balasubramanian of the agency’s proper support in covering the upcoming G20 Summit.

The agency chief also called for the exchange program between NAN and News Agency in India to be facilitated by signing an agreement to ensure a continuous flow of information and communication on a daily basis.

Ponle noted that the agency had two agreements with the Bulgarian News Agency, as well as with Turkey, in addition to online news sharing programs with Reuters, AFP and the China News Agency.

He said the agency also sought to establish such a partnership with India. (NAN) (

Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

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