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Indian Army's Vice Chief on Nigeria visit

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Nigeria are expected to boost their defence cooperation during a three-day visit of Army vice chief Lt Gen P C Bhardwaj to the African nation.

Bhardwaj, who left on Monday, will be in Nigeria till July 7, an Army spokesperson said here.

During his visit, Lt Gen Bhardwaj will meet senior officials of the Nigerian armed forces and attend that country's Army Day celebrations.

In his interaction with senior military officials there, the vice chief will discuss enhancing of military cooperation to further cement ties between India and Nigeria, the spokesman said.

“India has historic and traditional relations with Nigeria. The similarities in colonial struggle, ethnic diversity and geo-political situations have created affinity and goodwill between the two countries,” he said.

Noting that defence cooperation was an important tool towards enhancing the friendship, he said the relationship between the two countries had been elevated to strategic partnership through 'Abuja Declaration' during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007.

“An impetus was provided to the defence cooperation by signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation,” he added.

The defence cooperation with Nigeria began in 1963 and the Indian armed forces have contributed significantly in laying the foundation of various training establishments of the Nigerian armed forces from 1963 to 1986.

The defence forces of the two nations have been comprehensively cooperating in the field of military training and United Nations Peacekeeping Training.

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