Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta today welcomed India’s Minister of External Affairs, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar with a mihi whakatau ceremony and formal talks at Auckland War Memorial Museum.
It is the first visit by an Indian Foreign Minister since 2001. Minister Mahuta says the historic visit was an opportunity to strengthen the relationship in areas like people to people exchanges and climate action.
“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,” she said.
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,” said Ms Mahuta.
“We discussed opportunities for expanding the relationship and cooperating on new areas, such as climate change and sustainable agriculture. We aspire to develop opportunities in the economic, cultural, technology and services sectors, and to strengthen people to people links.
“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. It promotes solar energy through research, development and innovation and mobilises investment for affordable solar energy around the world, including the Pacific.”
Also discussed was India’s interest in joining the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which promotes international cooperation and research to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions.
“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,” said Ms Mahuta.
“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,” she said.