WorldStage Newsonline– The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gangadharan Balasubramanian, has said that the long-awaited direct flight between India and Nigeria will start in less than a month.

Balasubramanian said this on Thursday while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of India’s 74th National Day commemoration at the High Commission in Abuja.

Balasubramanian said the direct flight will further strengthen economic, trade and bilateral relations and people-to-people ties between the two countries.

He said the flight will also break barriers in trade and increase the volume of trade between the two countries, especially from India to Nigeria, which is currently running a deficit.

“I am happy to say that yesterday I received information from Air Peace that they are going to start very soon.

“They have all the permits to fly to Bombay, I’m just waiting for the date from them,” Balasubramanian said.

Balasubramanian said the trade cooperation between the two countries has been stable and strong over the years as they continue to explore areas for improvement.

“Cooperation with Nigeria has been very strong and continues. Despite COVID, it has been happening.

“Physical meetings were a bit disruptive during the COVID-19 era, but we continue to have virtual meetings.

“In 2022, there have been 14.950 million dollars in favor of Nigeria. we receive from you about 10.5 billion dollars in oil and about four and a half dollars in merchandise, including things, which we send to Nigeria.

“There is a lot of cooperation in trade and we hope to further increase it. Balancing the trade depends on the demand and supply of both sides, so it is a matter of trade.

“But we are trying to look at the basic agreements like the double taxation avoidance treaty, the implemented bilateral investment treaties that are important for increasing trade and economic cooperation,” Balasubramanian said.

Balasubramanian listed information, communication and technology as critical areas where both countries are already increasing cooperation.

He said that in ICT, India has developed an indigenous 5G technology which it has offered to Nigeria.

“We are certainly trying to look at the areas of ICT, particularly 5G, UPI, Universal Payment Index and also the technology part.

“It will be possible for us to achieve all these things and help us in our trade and economic cooperation.

“In Agriculture, we are trying to revive better. These are some of the areas we will be concentrating on in the coming term.

“Airtel is one of the largest mobile business technology providers in India and also won the upcoming 5G spectrum here.

“So these are programs that are taking place in addition to capacity building that we have been assisting with in terms of ICT as well,” the High Commissioner added.