The Prime Minister of New Zealand H.E. Mr John Key paid a state visit to India from 26-30 June at the invitation of the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. The New Zealand Prime Minister was accompanied by the Trade Minister Hon Tim Groser, M.P. Mr. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and a high level business delegation.
Commonwealth ties, shared democratic values, people-to-people and sporting links underpin the vibrant bilateral relationship between India and New Zealand. The two Prime Ministers acknowledged the strength of the ties and agreed there was great potential for further growth in the relationship. They welcomed the enhanced engagement across a range of trade and economic sectors, including science and innovation, education and defence.
Prime Minister Key thanked Prime Minister Singh for the support and sympathy extended by the Government of India to New Zealand, and especially to the residents of Christchurch, following the devastating earthquake on February 22 2011. The two Leaders affirmed the importance of cooperation on disaster preparedness and emergency response management systems, a shared area of focus for the two countries working together in regional forums such as the East Asia Summit.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed the increased trade and investment flows between India and New Zealand and noted the potential to expand bilateral trade significantly. The two Prime Ministers reiterated the commitment to early conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, noting that the ongoing negotiations were proceeding well. Successful conclusion of a high quality and comprehensive FTA would provide the platform for stronger economic interaction to the benefit of both economies.
The two Prime Ministers acknowledged the complementary nature of the key exports from each country and noted the role that bilateral trade and sharing of expertise between them could play in ensuring food security for the future.
Building on existing film industry links, an Agreement on Audio-Visual Co-Productions was signed in the presence of the two Prime Ministers. This Agreement will allow both sides to encourage industry level cooperation, share creative talent, and support the vibrant film industry in both countries.
The two Prime Ministers announced a new Education Cooperation Initiative. This jointly-funded Initiative, worth NZ $ 1 million annually (i.e. around Rs 3.6 crores) to be shared equally by New Zealand and India, will promote partnerships in two key streams; higher education and research, and skills and vocational education. The Initiative will focus on areas such as academic and student exchanges, joint research activities, and industry collaborations. The Initiative also includes sports scholarships and provides opportunities to share expertise and experience in tribal and indigenous higher education. A Joint Education Council will be established to implement the Prime Ministers' Initiative.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of a Science and Innovation Protocol for Cooperation, which will provide a framework for future scientific exchanges and research collaboration. The two Leaders welcomed the first joint science initiative, the Science Research Workshop on Food Technologies and Dairy, held recently in New Zealand at the Riddet Institute/Massey University and Lincoln University.
The two Leaders also acknowledged the good cooperation developing in the civil aviation sector. Both sides are exploring cooperation in the aviation field, including the furthering of relationships in the training area.
The two Prime Ministers agreed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation. Prime Minister Key announced that New Zealand will appoint a Defence Adviser to India to better facilitate defence linkages. Both sides noted the need for ensuring the safety and security of sea lanes and agreed that regional and global cooperation should continue to ensure maritime security. The two Leaders agreed that ship visits and staff college exchanges had deepened bilateral defence cooperation to the benefit of both sides.
The two Prime Ministers stressed the importance of reform of the United Nations Security Council to ensure it reflects the realities of the 21st century. Prime Minister Key announced the support of New Zealand for India's membership in a reformed Security Council, including in any expansion of permanent membership.
Both sides share the vision of a nuclear weapon free world. New Zealand welcomes increased engagement between India and the multilateral export control regimes.
The two Prime Ministers discussed global security challenges and agreed on the importance of working in international and regional contexts to achieve stability and prosperity for all. Both Prime Ministers strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms.
India and New Zealand cooperate in regional bodies such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus and the Asia Europe Meeting. The two Leaders reaffirmed the importance of these bodies for furthering regional security, economic partnership and political linkages. They agreed to work together to progress the Comprehensive Economic Partnership under the EAS.
People-to-people exchanges form the backbone of the bilateral relationship. The two Prime Ministers agreed that strengthening these enduring personal linkages was a key part of ensuring continued vitality and growth in the relationship. To encourage a deeper understanding of each others’ countries New Zealand created the Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship in memory of one of New Zealand’s most inspiring citizens. Prime Minister Key announced that the fellowship recipient for 2011 would be a prominent Indian businessperson.
The Indian community in New Zealand is a vibrant platform for the two-way flow of visitors, migrants and students between New Zealand and India. In further strengthening these valuable ties, in January this year the Government of India conferred on the New Zealand Governor-General the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA), the highest honour for overseas Indians.
India and New Zealand share strong sporting ties, particularly in the games of cricket and hockey, which are slowly expanding to range of sports. Cricket is an example of India’s and New Zealand’s shared heritage, close sporting ties and bilateral friendship. Prime Minister Key congratulated India on its hosting of the Cricket World Cup with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh this year and the Indian team’s victory. The two Leaders looked forward to the next World Cup in 2015, co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia. The two Leaders agreed to work together towards building stronger sporting ties between the two countries as a means to promoting stronger people-to-people links.Tweet