By Grace Chigbu
In a testament to the deepening cultural and economic relationship between India and Nigeria, India’s investment in Nigeria has reached a remarkable $27 billion. The Consul General of India in Lagos, Nigeria, Chandramouli Kern, highlighted the significance of this investment during an annual prayer service event, ‘Mata ka Jagran,’ organized by the Shan E Punjab Association of Nigeria (SPAN).
Kern emphasized the cultural and religious similarities that bind the two nations, making it essential to continue strengthening their ties. He pointed out that India is one of Nigeria’s largest trading partners, serving as the biggest importer of Nigeria’s crude oil and natural gas. Conversely, Nigeria imports rice and pharmaceuticals from India. Kern lauded Indian companies operating in Nigeria for their role in generating employment opportunities for the country’s young workforce.
India’s investment in Nigeria has witnessed substantial growth, with over 200 Indian companies now operating in the country. Kern’s remarks underscored the critical role these investments play in fostering economic cooperation between the two nations.
Mr. Narindera Chugh, the President of SPAN, echoed the sentiment that Nigeria holds immense economic potential and is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by the world. He stated, “Nigeria is the best-kept secret of the world. I enjoy the wonderful people here, the beauty in Lagos and outside Lagos, and I feel that there is a lot Nigeria has to do to grow more. I also believe in the potential of the people and resources. I believe there is a lot Nigeria can do for the world.”
Dr. Grover, the Vice President of SPAN, provided insight into the significance of the prayer service event. He explained that the event is an annual gathering held before the celebration of one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism, called Divali. The event features the participation of the Chief Priest and various artists from India, who lead prayers and recite hymns. In addition to the spiritual aspect, the event includes a communal feast where a wide variety of food is served.
Dr. Grover highlighted the importance of the event for both countries, emphasizing the strong and cordial relationship between India and Nigeria. The prayer service aims to promote goodwill for Nigeria, its people, and the Nigerian-Indian community.
The event also drew the participation of officials from the Lagos State government and the Ministry of Culture, as well as Nigerian sponsors who contributed to its success. In essence, ‘Mata ka Jagran’ serves as a platform for fostering cultural exchange and enhancing the existing cultural and economic ties between India and Nigeria.
Kern summed up the significance of the event by stating, “India and Nigeria have strong bilateral relationships politically, economically, and culturally. We are both aligned for so many decades. Our relationship with Nigeria dates back before Nigeria’s independence.”
This reaffirmation of commitment to cultural and economic cooperation between India and Nigeria underscores the importance of international relationships and the role they play in enhancing economic growth, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding. With India’s significant investments in Nigeria, the two countries are poised to further strengthen their ties and explore new avenues for collaboration and growth. As Nigeria continues to unlock its economic potential, the partnership with India is set to yield mutual benefits for both nations.