Wellington, Oct 10 (IANS) India’s External Affairs minister S. Jaishankar, addressing the Indian community in New Zealand, said that there are possibilities for increased cooperation between the two nations in various sectors like business, digital and education.
“Stronger cooperation will ensure peace, prosperity and progress of our common region. Possibilities abound in business, digital, agriculture, education, skills, traditional medicine and maritime security domains,” Jaishankar, wrapping up his first visit to New Zealand, tweeted.
While inaugurating the new Indian High Commission Chancery in Wellington on Sunday, the minister said that the relationship between both countries is “due for an update”, and “due for refresh”.
India is New Zealand’s 11th largest two-way trading partner with total two-way trade valued at $1.80 billion during the year ending September 2020. Education and tourism are New Zealand’s growth sectors with India.
The primary imports from India consists of logs and forestry products, wood pulp, wool and edible fruit & nuts. Indian exports to New Zealand mostly are pharmaceuticals/medications, precious metals and gems, textiles and motor vehicles and non-knitted apparel and accessories.
“The more sensible way of growing our relationship is really to play with each other’s strengths. We must find ways for doing more business because, at the end of the day, business is good for any relationship. For once if there is a strong business foundation to a business relationship, that relationship is truly strong and steady,” he said, inaugurating the new Indian High Commission Chancery in Wellington.
Several New Zealand companies such as Rakon, Glidepath and RML Engineering have taken the Indian government’s invitation to “Make in India” and have invested towards establishing operations in the country, according to media reports.
“India is open for business, that we would like to see more of New Zealand, and there are areas where you have experiences, best practices and capabilities that make a big difference. And if those in some way be deployed in India, can be deployed through your own initiatives, partnerships with Indians and joint ventures it would be something that we would value and you will benefit from,” Jaishankar said.
Earlier, while participating in the ‘Vishwa Sadbhavana’ event which was a part of the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame awards, Jaishankar said, “The love and respect for the Indian diaspora is now an important part of India’s foreign policy.”
Indians make up five per cent of the New Zealand population. According to a Ministry of External Affairs report, there are 240,000 Indians residing in New Zealand, out of which there are 1.6 lakh people of Indian origin and 80,000 NRIs. Hindi is the fifth most spoken language in New Zealand.