By Alex Enumah in Abuja
Bilateral trade between Nigeria and India has been put around $10 billion, with the Indian High Commissioner, Nagabushana Reddy, stating that the figure which is still on the rise confirms Nigeria as Indiaâ€™s largest trading partner in Africa.
Reddy, who made the disclosure at an event, â€˜Namatse Nigeriaâ€™, said Nigeria and India have a lot in common, hence the desire of his country to consolidate and deepen the existing cordial relations between them.
He cited Nigeriaâ€™s Nollywood and Indiaâ€™s Bollywood as one area, where both countries have great potential and can impact immensely on their economies.
The event, which was organised by the High Commission in conjunction with Indian Cultural Association (ICA), Abuja and Indian Women Association (IWA), Abuja was aimed at packaging and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India through dance performance, costumes and music of various Indian states.
â€œWe hope that this grand event, Namatse Nigeria, will for the next months and years continue to showcase that aspect of our two countries, which despite been so diverse we are united and culture is one medium to get united in such an effective manner. This is also one medium we hope to use to find relationships that exist between Nigeria and India,â€ he said.
To achieve this, the envoy said: â€œWe have a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the cultures and we are going to rewrite this, starting from this year. We have already written to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to renew this memorandum of understanding so that we can organise a number of event.â€
According to him, the event will set the tone for further enhancement of India/Nigeria relations in all dimensions.
â€œBut as we said in the beginning, no better medium than culture, where we can explore this, you have Nollywood, we have Bollywood, you have diversities and number of states each of them rich in their own ways and in India we have Bollywood with lots of richness of the states and culture. This is the platform to bring together the strength of being diverse but united.
â€œThe strength of our culture lies in being able to write your own identity and at the same time appreciate the culture of others, each of us have our own cultural identity, but we use our identity to appreciate others, so it is this strength that we will like to bring together between India and Nigeria,â€ he said.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, commended the good relations India has established with Nigeria over the years and called for its sustenance.
The minister who was represented by the Chief cultural officer, of the Ministry of Information and Culture, Princess Ginika Nwanfori, however stated that Nigeria would want to see collaboration between Nollywood and zee world, and an opportunity to also export Nigeriaâ€™s rich culture to India.
â€œThey have shown us what they have and it is left for us to give them an opportunity to see our own carnivals and events. They need to see what we have and we will now find out how we can collaborate together to make impact that will bring employment, economic generation, entertainment and welfare to our people, because at the end of the day it is about making our economy viable through culture and tourism,â€ he said.