By Lizzy Okoji
Abhay Thakur, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria has said that trade levels between Nigeria and India remain strong, steady and even grew amid COVID-19.
Mr Abhay Thakur, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria has said that unlike many sectors which was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, trade levels between Nigeria and India continued to remain strong, steady and even grew.
Thakur disclosed this during the commemoration of the 74th Independence of India on Saturday in Abuja,
According to Thakur, the growing trade relations between India and Nigeria is a strong pointer to the resilience of the great bilateral and economic ties between the both countries.
He said that this would also have a positive impact of trade levels between both countries even post COVID-19.
“There is constant discussions on doing business virtually, there is a lot of interactions happening between Abuja Chambers, Lagos Chambers, NACIMA and Indian chambers which was not happening before.
“What is new is that despite the challenges our trade levels have remained quite steady.
And I think it is rewarding for Nigeria and for India as its big buyer that oil prices have kind of rebounded and is steady.
“Energy trade is continuing and I think that with the supply chain challenges that many parts of the world are facing, India is stepping up wherever it can to meet both food and medical supply challenges
“And quite successfully so otherwise our trade level is increasing and I think in normal times also, this will have a much more positive impact and actually build on this foundation.
“What these times have shown us is the resilience of our business linkages, they remain steady and strong,” Thakur said.
Thajur said that one major take away from the COVID-19 is that both countries have been able to establish the viability of a direct flight which should commence soonest.
This, the High Commissioner noted would further strengthen business ties between both countries
He explained that during the pandemic, the High Commission was able to repatriate about 5,500 Indians back home from Nigeria and hundreds of Nigerians from India back home.
“Infact, one of the takeaways is that and International flight has been found to be mor viable by Airlines on both sides especially Air peace.
“And we hope direct flights can resume can commence once the international restrictions are limited,” Thakur said.
Thakur said that countries need to take lessons from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their economies and further strengthen their systems and institutions.
The High Commissioner said that such a global pandemic requires a multifaceted, multipronged response, one of which is wholistic wellbeing and health care.
Thakur said that India have been trying to strengthen the system of traditional medicine, including through Yoga which is accessible and well known across India and it is very to India.
He said that traditional knowledge is very important, urging Africa to take advantage of its traditional herbs which it has in abundance.
He said India is making a lot of efforts in the search of a vaccine which they hope to produce in large scale for billions of people.
Thakur said India has also put in place low cost testing for resuming school children as a means to minimize the impact of the disease on its citizens going forward.
“One of the key things that has been done by a lot of Indian Institutions is very low-cost testing kits for example in educational institutions.
“Just for a few hundred rupees, test can be conducted on every student, so that makes it possible for at some stage, sooner or later for a lot of institutions to tackle this problem.
“Another of course is focused work on vaccine production and there are many samples on which the whole world is working but the hydro-tech lab is doing a very important work.
“We are all hopeful that someday forward it can be done at a very large scale for billions of people.
“Testing is on high in India, we have also fund of late in Delhi that a number of population that were tested appear to have antibodies so this is something the vaccine is there for the whole country and our partners abroad,” he said.
Thakur said Nigeria is not left out of India’s support to partner countries as some Nigerians have benefitted from its virtual workshop on COVID-19 health care management.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the occasion which was marked in a low key was attended by few Indian Nationals in Nigeria observing strict COVID-19 guidelines.