BY SHRI K. R. NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, WHILE ACCEPTING
CREDENTIALS FROM MR. HABIB OMOKHAGBOR ELABOR, HIGH COMMISSIONER-DESIGNATE
OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO INDIA
NEW DELHI, MAY 7,
I am greatly pleased
to receive your Letter of Credence appointing you as the new High Commissioner
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to India. On behalf of the Government
and the people of India, and on my own behalf, I extend a very warm welcome
While I welcome you as
the representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to India, I have pleasure
in conveying my fraternal greetings to General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Head
of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Please also
convey my best wishes to the President-elect, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who
is scheduled to assume his high office by the end of the month. We were
happy to welcome him in India last month as also in September 1998. India
will be delighted to participate in his inauguration on the 29th May, 1999.
As the 20th century draws
to an end, the return of democracy to Nigeria is a very encouraging event.
India as the world's largest democracy is particularly happy at this development.
Nigeria has often been
described as the 'giant of Africa'. Nigeria has vast natural and human resources.
The oil and natural gas resources in Nigeria are among the largest. Nigeria's
vibrant society exhibits a high degree of communal harmony and is known
for its folk culture, love for sports as well as literary heritage. We look
forward to Nigeria's rapid socio-economic growth in the coming years.
Mutual cooperation has
marked Indo-Nigerian relations. We have co-operated in the relentless opposition
to colonialism and apartheid. Our countries are among the earliest members
of the Non-Aligned Movement. In recent years, we find ourselves working
together in G-15 - a grouping of major developing countries. Despite distances,
people-to-people contacts have continued to increase. Technical co-operation,
whether in the civilian field or that of military training, has been in
existence for decades. The Indian community in Nigeria, some 24,000 strong,
has made a contribution to economic development which is a matter of mutual
satisfaction. Nigeria has been India's biggest trading partner in Africa.
Our relations have been characterised by equality, mutual benefit and mutual
respect. I am happy that the forum of the Joint Commission provides both
countries an apex institution to review the progress in bilateral relations.
It is expected that the Joint Commission will meet shortly.
In today's world, technology
is not confined to a handful of western nations as was the case at the beginning
of this century. Development of modern technology in India was only to be
expected, given our large population and requirements, as well as the vast
reservoir of our talented scientists and technicians. India is a source
of technology, not only in industry but also in agriculture. There are many
areas where fruitful co-operation is possible between our two nations. These
include small and medium-scale industry, rural telecommunication, rural
electrification, development of water resources and enhancing agricultural
yield. Areas like book publication are also relevant. The recently concluded
exhibition INDIATECH 99 in Lagos was useful in further expanding our bilateral
I wish, Your Excellency,
a very happy and successful tenure of duty in India.