By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Indian Government has reiterated its commitment to further enhance the existing defence collaboration with Nigeria towards expanding the capabilities of both countries.
The Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Nwachukwu said the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Abhay Thakur gave the commitment when he visited the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin on Friday.
The High Commissioner said that his visit was to facilitate closer ties between India and Nigeria in order to deepen the existing diplomatic and defence relations which he said was instituted in 1960.
He disclosed that India had remained committed towards the existing defence collaboration that involved capacity development training, acquisition of platforms and logistics support, as well as research and development.
Thakur disclosed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of Long Range Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Detectors, signed by Indian and Nigerian Defence Research Bureaus would enhance their defence architectures.
According to him, aside defence collaboration, the Indian Government is ready to partner with Nigeria in other areas of national interest and development.
He expressed appreciation to the Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the Nigerian Navy for their active involvement in rescuing some Indian Nationals who were kidnapped by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.
The ambassador also extended invitation to members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to this year’s India Defence Expo.
Responding, Olonisakin, said the visit would strengthen the defence space of the two countries.
According to him, the Indian Government played a major role in the establishment of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), which has become a cradle and a citadel of learning for producing and grooming officers for the AFN.
The Defence Chief lauded the ongoing India-Nigeria Defence Collaboration on the proposed long range IED Detectors, adding that it will give impetus to the ongoing counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations.