Manmohan seeks closer ties with Nigeria to tackle terrorism

November 14th, 2007 - 2:18 am ICT by admin  
Abuja, Oct 15 (ANI): Unveiling his new vision of bilateral ties with Nigeria, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the two countries should seek to upgrade their cooperation on security matters to meet the emerging threats of terrorism and challenges to social securities.

In a rare honour given to a visiting dignitary, Singh addressed the joint session of the Nigerian National Assembly, where he laid out the roadmap for the bilateral ties. The special session was attended by all sections of the political stream in large numbers.

He said both countries should establish a sustained dialogue with other African countries to identify joint approaches on international issues like terror and nuclear disarmament.

“We are united in our condemnation of terrorism as a grave threat to humankind,” he said, adding, ” We seek to upgrade our cooperation on security matters to meet these emerging threats and challenges to our social fabric.”

On the issue of UN reform, Singh said, “No reform of the Security Council would be complete without adequate representation from Africa,” and thanked Nigeria for its support to India’s bid for a permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

Singh once again reiterated that energy security is vital prerequisite for sustained growth and said that Nigeria’s rich resources would provide the base for mutually beneficial cooperation for energy security.

He called for an Indo-Nigerian partnership in the 21st Century, and added that for the partnership to flourish, “we have to encourage and promote broad based exchanges covering all facets of our relationship.”

He said that the partnership would be based on the fundamental principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit.

Emphasizing that India and Africa have a shared destiny and a common future, the Prime Minister said: “I am deeply honoured by this opportunity to address you here today in this new temple of your democracy. I am also delighted to be in this beautiful city of Abuja, which symbolizes a dynamic Nigeria and a new dawn in the life of an ancient people.”

He further went on to describe India is the largest democracy in the world and Nigeria as the largest democracy in Africa.

“We are multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual societies. Our societies embrace modernity while preserving their traditions. There is a natural logic in ties between our two countries,” he said.

Stating that the principal challenge before both countries remains the socio-economic development of people, Singh said that the information revolution and higher levels of literacy have raised popular expectations and disparities were leading to social tensions.

“Economic growth has to be accompanied by a better distribution of its benefits,” he asserted.

He said that it is the most appropriate time for launching the strategic partnership between India and Nigeria, which will be “anchored in the past and look to the future”.

“Our two countries can promote transfer of technologies in key areas of the knowledge economy like information technology and biotechnology. Small and medium industry can play a key role. Our partnership is for development. We need to share experiences on effective strategies for sustainable development, poverty alleviation, healthcare facilities and universal education. In this context, being largely agrarian societies, there is great potential for cooperation in agricultural research, soil and water management and food processing,” Singh said.

“I believe that India and Africa have a shared destiny and a common future. Ours is a relationship that must now be brought to full bloom. Let us work together to make this happen,” he concluded. (ANI)

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