By Amit Shankar Abuja [Nigeria], Sept. 28 : India and Nigeria have held discussions on the perception, exchange of information or intelligence related to terrorism and have agreed, if at all, to evolve joint action to counter this ever looming threat.
Briefing the media over delegation-level talks between Vice President M. Hamid Ansari and his Nigerian counterpart Yemi Osinbajo here on Tuesday, Secretary, Economic Relations (ER), Ministry of External Affairs, Amar Sinha said, "Terrorism, of course, was a common theme and, of course, with a difference that Nigeria has been lucky that it has got collaborations and cooperation from all its neighbours unlike ours, where one of our neighbours seems to become a source for a lot of terrorist activities that happen in India." "The discussion on terrorism took place around the perception, exchange of information or intelligence and, the joint action that could be taken, if at all," said Sinha.
"Nigeria is acting together with its neighbours and they are quite effectively reducing the space that the Boko Haram had occupied here before," he added.
On the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Sinha said, "India says Nigeria is a influential member of the OIC and its needs to speak up, like all other members need to speak up at the OIC, so that the entire agenda and discourse are not hijacked by the one interested party, and since it is through consensus, if even one of them spoke up, you would have more balanced statements coming out of the OIC, especially on Jammu and Kashmir." "And, of course, we also made the point that the OIC; we don't see that they have a locus standi in Jammu and Kashmir," he added.
When asked about the mention of the Uri terror attack during the talks, he said, "We apprised them of the Uri terror attack; whereas soon after the attack, on September 19, they met the acting High Commissioner in Delhi.
So, I think, on behalf of the government, they have already condemned it." Vice President Ansari is on a five-day official visit to Nigeria and Mali as part of efforts to bolster New Delhi's ties with both West African nations.
The historic State visit to Nigeria by then prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in October 2007 after a gap of over forty five years elevated the strategic partnership.
Nigeria is India's largest trading partner in Africa with the bilateral trade amounting to USD 12.6 billion in 2015-16.
India is also the largest buyer of crude oil from Nigeria, and more than 100 Indian companies have a large presence there as well as both the countries have strong defence cooperation.
On the second leg of his trip, the Vice President will reach Mali on September 29 for the first ever high-level visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Modibo Keita.