Press Releases[Back]

October 15, 2007
Abuja, Nigeria

Abuja Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Nigeria

His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India paid an official visit to Nigeria from 14-16 October 2007 at the invitation of His Excellency Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. During his visit, he held intensive and fruitful discussions with President Yar'Adua and addressed a joint session of the two houses of the Nigerian National Assembly.

India and Nigeria are linked by common historical experiences and in the contemporary context are united in the desire to work towards democratic pluralism, tolerance, economic development and social justice. Both are multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-ethnic societies with a vibrant media and civic society. They are both members of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the G-77 and NAM and have a history and tradition of working closely together in regional and international organizations.

The leaders of both sides reiterated the importance of ensuring socially inclusive economic growth in their countries. They agreed that exchange of experiences and programmes between the two countries with respect to poverty alleviation would be of great benefit to each other and to other countries in Africa.

Nigeria is India's largest trading partner in Africa and the potential and opportunities for substantially enhancing trade and investment between the two countries are largely untapped. Both sides agreed to significantly enhance mutually beneficial trade and investment exchanges with each other's countries in sectors such as infrastructure (including railways), agriculture, food processing, small and medium enterprises, power generation, fertilizers, ICT, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, auto-components and other sectors. In this context, the two leaders desired that the fifth meeting of the Joint Commission be held within the next few months and should draw up a detailed roadmap for this purpose.

The Indian side expressed its thanks to the Nigerian side for the rapidly growing partnership between the two countries in the energy sector. They confirmed the understanding that both governments would continue to encourage further cooperation between their companies in the oil and gas sectors of both countries.

India and Nigeria have had longstanding cooperation in defence matters. Both sides agreed to further strengthen such cooperation and expand its ambit. In this context, India agreed to establish two IT laboratories in the defence academies of Nigeria. Both sides also agreed to enhance cooperation in respect of UN peacekeeping operations in which their countries have traditionally played and continue to play an important role.

Both sides stressed the need to enhance air and maritime connectivity between the two countries. They instructed that a new Civil Aviation Agreement should be entered into within six months and further efforts should be made to improve maritime connectivity.

Nigeria and India have a good tradition of cooperating in the fight against international terrorism and drug trafficking. It was agreed that such cooperation shall be enhanced and for this purpose appropriate agreements would be signed. Both sides also reiterated their unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They stressed that there was no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.

Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in culture, education, health, S&T & ICT sectors. Exchanges among Parliamentarians, youth and civil society would also be further encouraged and developed.

The Indian side conveyed to the Nigerian side its intention to further strengthen its cooperative partnership with Africa; a partnership that dates back to Africa's struggle against colonialism and apartheid. It is India's intention to renew its partnership and upgrade its content with a view to meeting contemporary African requirements. The Nigerian side expressed its appreciation for India's consistent and longstanding support to Africa and to African causes and conveyed its happiness at India's intention to host an India-Africa Forum Summit in India in April 2008. Nigeria would be happy to participate in that Summit which is intended to focus on finding ways and means by which India could further enhance its support to the countries of Africa to meet their socio-economic developmental objectives.

Both sides reiterated the importance they attach to matters pertaining to climate change and agreed that the solution to the problem of climate change, which is essentially the outcome of the unsustainable production and consumption patterns in the developed world, cannot lie in the perpetuation of poverty in developing countries. Developing countries cannot accept approaches that impede growth and retard poverty alleviation obligations. They agreed that both sides would cooperate closely, along with other developing countries, at the UNFCCC and also within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Yar'Adua recalled that both India and Nigeria are members of the G-20 and G-33 and stressed the importance of continuing close coordination between the two governments to effectively realize the development dimension in every aspect of the outcome of the negotiations on the Doha Developmental Agenda. They reiterated the urgent need to successfully complete the Doha Round in order to promote the interests of the developing countries in keeping with the Doha mandate.

Nigeria is a leading member of the African Union and of ECOWAS. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveyed to President Yar'Adua that India attaches particular importance to exchanging views with the government of Nigeria not only on matters pertaining to Africa and West Africa but also on critical matters on the global agenda.

India and Nigeria cooperate closely at the United Nations. In this context, both sides stressed the need to promote democratization of the structures of global governance by increasing the participation of developing countries in their decision making bodies. They recalled that both India and Nigeria had co-sponsored the recent draft resolution pertaining to the UN Security Council reform process which the two countries had tabled along with other African, Asian, Caribbean and Pacific Island States at the recently concluded 61st Session of the UN General Assembly.

India and Nigeria reaffirmed their understanding that no reform of the United Nations would be complete without reform of the UN Security Council. Nigeria reaffirmed its support for India's permanent membership on an expanded UN Security Council. India will respect Africa's consensus with respect to new permanent membership from Africa.

The two leaders also had a detailed exchange of views on regional issues of mutual interest in Africa, the Asia Pacific and on international issues.

During the visit the following agreements were signed:

- MoU between Foreign Service Institute and the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy

- MoU between Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA) and Nigerian Institute of International Affairs

- Protocol for Foreign Office Consultations

- MoU on Defence Cooperation

It was agreed that to enhance and broad base cooperation, the following agreements would be finalized and signed within the next six months:

- Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement

- Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement

- Bilateral Inter Governmental Science & Technology Agreement

- Bilateral Air Services Agreement (renewal of 1976 agreement)

- Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty

- Extradition Treaty

- Trade Agreement

- Agreement on Cooperation against trafficking of Drugs etc.

- Cultural Exchange Programme 2008 - 2010

The Nigerian side described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit as a landmark in bilateral relations. Taking into account the commonalities and complementarities between the two countries it was agreed to establish a Strategic Partnership between India and Nigeria that would cover bilateral political, economic, trade, security, cultural, education, S&T and international dimensions.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of Nigeria for the hospitality and warm welcome received by him and his delegation. He invited President Yar'Adua to pay a State visit to India at a mutually convenient date. The invitation was accepted with pleasure. PM Manmohan Singh also expressed his happiness that President Yar'Adua had designated a high-level delegation led by the Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, to represent him at the 4th International Conference on Federalism" in New Delhi in November 2007. That occasion would provide another opportunity for the leadership of the two countries to exchange views on issues of topical interest.