India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr S. Jaishankar is on a historic visit to New Zealand to strengthen the relationship in several areas, including people exchanges with New Zealand.
It is the first visit by an Indian Foreign Minister since 2001.
Dr Jaishankar, who arrived here on 5 October, called on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday, 6 October. They are understood to have discussed deepening the bilateral cooperation through focused engagement in areas of strength. In a tweet, Dr Jaishankar says they also agreed on encouraging greater business collaboration and people to people exchanges.
He also participated in an event yesterday along with PM to felicitate members of Indian community in New Zealand for their achievements and contributions.
Earlier yesterday, New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta welcomed Dr. S. Jaishankar with a mihi whakatau ceremony and formal talks at Auckland War Memorial Museum.
“The reopening of borders has provided a timely opportunity to re-engage with India. The visit follows two previous meetings between us offshore, and visits to India last month by New Zealand’s Associate Agriculture and Trade Ministers,” Nanaia Mahuta says.
“This year marks the 70th Anniversary of formal diplomatic relationships between India and New Zealand. India is a priority relationship for New Zealand. It was our 16th largest trading partner in the year to December 2021, and we are committed to broadening our partnership.
“We discussed opportunities for expanding the relationship and cooperating on new areas…“For example, we are changing immigration settings to attract high-skilled migrants with a clear pathway to residency for globally hard-to-fill roles. We anticipate there could be opportunities for high-skilled migrants from India through the green list, such as dairy farm managers and ICT roles.
“Another area of focus is New Zealand’s progress towards joining the International Solar Alliance, which India and France established in 2015…We also discussed India’s interest in joining the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases…”
Nanaia Mahuta acknowledged the growth and strength of Indian community in the country.
“The Indian community accounts for about five per cent of our population, or almost 240,000 people. In our largest city, Auckland, that figure stands at 10 per cent. It’s no surprise that Hindi is our fifth most spoken language.
“Today’s meeting was an important opportunity to continue the momentum in the relationship, build on the re-opening of our borders, and meet once again in person. Despite the challenges the world throws at us, we can be optimistic about our future,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
Dr S. Jaishankar also met the leader of the opposition, National party’s Christopher Luxon.
India’s External Affairs Minister is scheduled to formally inaugurate the new premises of India High Commission at Wellington later this week. He would also be visiting Australia during this trip.