Nigeria-India direct flight to begin soon, envoy says
The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gangadharan Balasubramanian, has said that the long-awaited direct flight between India and Nigeria is set to commence in less than a month.
Mr Balasubramanian stated this on Thursday while speaking with journalists on the sideline of the commemoration of the 74th National Day of India at the High Commission in Abuja.
Mr Balasubramanian said that the direct flight will further strengthen economic, trade, bilateral relations, and people-to-people ties between both countries.
He said that the flight will also break barriers in trade and increase the volume of trade between both countries, especially from India to Nigeria which is currently at a deficit.
“I am happy to say that yesterday I got information from Air Peace that they are going to start very soon.
“They have all the permission to fly to Bombay, I am just awaiting the date from them,” Mr Balasubramanian said.
Mr Balasubramanian said that the trade cooperation between both countries have been stable and strong over the years, as they continue to explore areas of improvements.
“Cooperation with Nigeria has been very strong and has been going on. In spite of COVID, it has been going on.
“Physical meetings were a little bit disturb during the COVID-19 era but we continued to have virtual meetings.
“In 2022, it has been 14.95 billion dollars in favour of Nigeria. We get about 10 and half billion dollars-worth of oil from you and about four and half dollars of goods and including things which we send to Nigeria.
“There is a lot of cooperation in trade and we hope to increase it better. Balancing the trade depends on the demand and supply on both sides so it is a commercial thing.
“But we are trying to look at the foundation agreements like the double taxation avoidance treaty, bilateral investment treaties put in place which are important for increasing trade and economic cooperation,” Mr Balasubramanian said.
Mr Balasubramanian listed information, communication and technology as critical areas where both countries are already increasing cooperation.
He said that on ICT, India has developed an indigenous 5G technology which it has offered to Nigeria.
“We are certainly trying to look at ICT areas, particularly 5G, UPI, Universal Payment Index, and also the tech part of it.
“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. So these are some of the areas we will be concentrating on in the fort-coming period.
“Airtel is one of the biggest mobile company technology providers in India and has also won the next 5G spectrum over here.
“So they are programmes which are going on apart from the capacity building which we have been helping out on in terms of ICT also,” the High Commissioner added.
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