By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal government on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of India on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in Abuja.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu signed the MOU on behalf of the Nigerian government through a Web virtual meeting, while the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Abhay Thakur signed on behalf of the Government of India.
The signing ceremony was also witnessed by the Defence attaché of the Indian High Commission, Col. Saghih Dubey and the Acting DG of (NARSDA), Dr. Francis Chizea.
Speaking after the signing of the agreement, the Minister said the MOU will strengthen the deep historic ties between both nations in terms of Socio-economic development, space exploration, environmental safety and trade.
He further said that the two nations had made relentless efforts in ensuring global peace, adding that “Nigeria and India share many historic ties, as both nations have been working closely to ensure global peace”.
”For me, the signing of the MOU is a right step in the right direction, as it would accelerate Nigeria’s economic transformation from a resource-based to knowledge and Innovation-driven economy.”
He commended India for its tremendous feat and advancement in space exploration, adding that other developing countries looked up to India to achieve a similar feat.
He reiterated Nigeria’s desire to make her economy competitive globally, by investing in Space Technology.
Dr. Onu said that both nations are poised to look for new areas in collaboration and development in peaceful uses of Outer Space Technology.
The Minister further informed that Nigeria had developed and launched 4 Earth observation satellites (NigeriaSat-1, NigeriaSat-2, NigeriaSat-X and NigeriaEduSat-1) and 2 communications satellites (NigComSat-1 and NigComSat-1R).
Earlier, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan, who spoke through digital video link, said the MOU will be of mutual socio-economic benefits to both countries.
He commended the relationship between both nations, saying that Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa with a trade volume of $13.8 Billion, adding that Nigeria provides 10% of the energy needs of India.
He said the historic event will further expand collaborations in Agriculture, Space technology, defence and further the advancement of global peace.
In his interaction with the media after the signing of the MOU, the acting DG of National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA), Dr. Francis Chizea highlighted some of the benefits that Nigerian and Indian space programme will derive include: Planning and implementing of joint space projects of mutual benefit and interest; Establishment, operation and maintenance of ground stations for data reception; Exchange of equipment, documentation, data, results of experiments, development of micro and mini satellites for scientific and commercial purposes; Joint activities in launch services, operation and utilization of satellites; Promotion of industrial cooperation between the national companies and entities of India and Nigeria specialized in space technology; Capacity building in space science and technology, as well as space application programmes for societal purposes and Exchange and training in the field of space among academic institutes of both countries.
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