Shri Balasubramanian, India’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, said on Wednesday that the country would offer 500 scholarships to Nigerians in 2023.
Balasubramanian made it known during a courtesy visit to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The envoy said that his working visit to the agency was to promote the exchange of information and communication between the two countries.
Balasubramanian said: “We are going to have a group of journalists from Nigeria go to India, not on a course, but “actually a field visit is being organized to expose India.
“In other words, what India has been doing in the area of politics. We will not do it exclusively for Nigeria, but for West Africa, for about 30 people.
“I am sure that Nigeria, being part of the G20, will be able to get more numbers, so we will do it after March and April.
“I’ll discuss it with you to get your recommendations as well; we award 500 scholarships every year to Nigerians, 250 of them are on the civilian side.
“We will be delighted to reintroduce higher education in the area of Mass Communication in a prestigious location and we also have short courses.”
He mentioned that the scholarship involved other courses that could be of interest to Journalists, saying “we work on a calendar basis and our fiscal year ends in March.”
“So April to March is our calendar through which we do all these things.
“Currently, they are two and a half months that are available, but when April arrives it will be the first 250 and we will be happy to continue with these things,” added the envoy.
He praised the bilateral relations between the two countries as having been excellent and that more would be done to further deepen India-Nigeria ties in healthcare delivery.
He praised the volume of trade between the two countries, saying that more than 135 Indian companies have so far invested $19 billion in Nigeria since the past four decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
He said Nigeria’s invitation as a guest participant to the G20 Summit scheduled to be held on September 9-10 in New Delhi, India, would boost the opportunity to show the priority of developing countries to the world.
The High Commissioner listed the mission plan for 2023 to include celebrating India’s National Day on January 26, Food Festival and Cooking Contest on January 28, and facilitating weekly “Yoga” exercise for promote a healthy life.
In response, NAN Managing Director Buki Ponle praised Balasubramanian for the visit which has been apt to deepen relations on information exchange and news network between the two countries.
According to him, the relationship between the mission and the agency started on a very pleasant note and that much would be done to explore other spheres to produce better 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 Trust of India, we always went to India to further studies in Mass Communication, but there was a stage when the agreement 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 the news agency in India to be facilitated by signing an agreement to ensure a continuous flow of information and communication on a daily basis.
He mentioned that two agreements have been signed 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.
However, he said the agency was also looking to establish such a partnership with India.
Balasubramanian, a former Vice Chancellor of Tamil University, Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu, India, served in various posts at Indian missions in Moscow, Dushanbe, Washington DC and Bangkok.
The highlight of the visit was a group photo between Balasubramanian and the NAN leadership. (YAYA)