India to give 100 million dollars to Nigeria

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Abuja, Oct 15 (UNI) India will extend concessional line of credit to the tune of 100 million US dollars to Nigeria to develop capital exports from India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced here today.

Dr Singh, who held discussions with Nigerian President Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua on wide ranging issues, also agreed to increase by 50 per cent the number of scholarships given by India to Nigerian students to pursue studies and research in different disciplines.

Mr Nalin Surie, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, told mediapersons that the line of credit was essentially for developing capital exports from India in the areas of agriculture and food processing.

He said both sides would discuss projects and finalize them.

India has extended similar credit to a number of African countries to promote economic activity and for developmental projects. India also contributed to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).

Mr Surie said there would be closer cooperation between India and Nigeria in the next Doha round of WTO talks. ''Since WTO talks are in critical stage, the cooperation of Nigeria is very important." He said the Nigerian Government sought the help of India for the setting up of a ''Technology Village'' in Abuja. Dr Singh assured all help, including extension of technical expertise.

India also agreed to exchange its experience in poverty alleviation and empowerment. The experts of the Economic Management team of President Yar' Adua held discussions with Dr Singh on these issues.

This was followed by a joint meeting of Nigerian Ministers of Defence, External Affairs and Health with Dr Singh.

Among the four agreements signed today between the two countries, the one on Defence cooperation sought to share India's expertise in military training and information technology and cooperation among defence-related agencies and organizations for joint projects and co-production, Mr Surie said, adding that India would set up two IT labs in Nigeria.

He said the cooperation between both the countries in oil and gas was expected to get a boost in the context of Dr Singh's visit.

''Several projects are under discussion. Both the private and public sector companies have been holding intensive and extensive discussions with their Nigerian counterparts.'' he added.


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