India and New Zealand on Wednesday agreed to strengthen ties in key areas of trade, defence and security during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Kiwi counterpart John Key, who also assured that his country will contribute “constructively” to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership.
Your Excellency, Prime Minister John Key,
Members of the delegations,
Members of the media,
I am delighted to welcome Excellency Key to India.
Excellency, I am told that it is now a regular feature for the New Zealand Parliament to celebrate the festival of Diwali and, you yourself have participated in several of these festivities. So, it is a particular pleasure to receive you in India during the festive season.
Prime Minister Key and I have met several times on the sidelines of multilateral summits and today, it is an honour for us to welcome Excellency Key in India on a bilateral visit.
In a little while from now, our cricket teams will take the field in Ranchi for the fourth One Day International. In many ways some of the cricketing terminology reflects progress in our bilateral linkages. In our ties, we have moved from fielding at Long Off to taking a fresh guard at the batting pitch. Defensive play has given way to aggressive batting.
Prime Minister Key and I have had detailed and productive discussions on all aspects of our bilateral engagement and multilateral cooperation.
Trade and Investment ties have been one of the key areas of our conversation. We both recognized the need for greater economic engagement in order to effectively respond to the growing uncertainties in global economy and, agreed that expanding business and commercial ties should continue to be one of the priority items of our partnership. I am sure that the large business delegation accompanying Prime Minister Key will not only witness firsthand the investment opportunities on offer in India’s growth story. Their interactions will also build new commercial partnerships between our two countries. I would like to mention food processing, dairy and agriculture, and related areas in their supply chain as some of the areas of particular potential for bilateral cooperation. New Zealand’s strength and capacity in these sectors can combine with India’s vast technology needs to build partnerships that can benefit both our societies.
We also agreed that actions by both governments should also promote greater business connectivity, including through movement of skilled professionals, between our two economies and societies. In this regard, we have agreed to continue to work closely towards an early conclusion of a balanced and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.
Along side extensive bilateral engagement, our close cooperation also extends to the global arena. On regional issues, we have agreed to enhance our cooperation, including in the East Asia Summit process. The reform of international governance institutions is a shared priority for us both. We are thankful for New Zealand’s support to India joining a reformed UN Security Council as a permanent member. As we make our own contribution to the developmental efforts of the Pacific Island countries, we will continue to consult closely with New Zealand to complement and supplement each other’s efforts.
I am also thankful to Prime Minister Key for New Zealand’s constructive approach to the consideration of India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Terrorism remains one of the greatest challenges to global peace and security. Today, the financial, logistical and information networks of terror span the entire globe. The barriers of geography do not safeguard against the threat of radicalization and terrorism. Nations who believe in humanity need to coordinate their actions and policies to counter this threat.
Prime Minister Key and I have agreed to strengthen our security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalization, including in the domain of cyber security.
The people of New Zealand have expressed their confidence in your leadership time and again and, I can see why.
I thank you, Excellency, for your personal commitment to take our bilateral partnership forward, and to strengthen the bonds of friendship and people to people relations between our countries.
Once again, I extend a warm welcome to you and your delegation, and wish you a productive and successful visit to India.
Thank you very much.