Remarks by Shri V Muraleedharan Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India
Hon’ble Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand
Dr. Gaurav Sharma, Hon’ble Member of Parliament
Mr. Rino Tirikatene, Hon’ble Member of Parliament
Mr. Muktesh Pardeshi, High Commissioner of India to New Zealand
Mr. Bhav Dhillon, Honorary Consul of India in Auckland
Mr. Sameer Handa, Chairman of the India-New Zealand Business Council
Business leaders, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Namaskaram and good morning to all of you!
1. I am glad to be part of India-New Zealand Business Summit organised by India-New Zealand Business Council.
2. The theme of this year’s Summit, "Decade of the New Normal” is extremely relevant. India and New Zealand have huge unrealised potential for mutually beneficial collaboration. Closer economic ties will contribute to post-pandemic economic growth in both countries. In the midst of unprecedented challenges, forums such as this are crucial for charting a new path to progress and prosperity.
3. COVID-19 pandemic calls for global action. This has been articulated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi most recently in his address to the G-7 leaders. He called for a "One Earth One Health” approach for global recovery, while synergising the efforts at all levels of the government, industry and civil society to "Build Back Stronger”. I commend the organizers of this event for their efforts in bringing together the key stakeholders from the spheres of politics, business and academia for this deliberation. I am happy to note that both FICCI and CII are strategic partners for this event.
4. I thank the Government & the people of New Zealand and the Indian Diaspora for their support and solidarity during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in India.
5. India and New Zealand enjoy warm and friendly relationship anchored in shared democratic traditions, commonwealth heritage, commonality of institutions of governance and rule of law and sporting relations through cricket, hockey and mountaineering.
6. Based on strong fundamentals, our bilateral relationship is progressing well through regular political, economic and people-to-people exchanges. India and New Zealand have shared interests in a peaceful, cooperative and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. The need for strengthening the strategic dimension of our relationship is felt more strongly than ever before. There is keen interest in India to further strengthen our relationship. This, I believe, is a mutually shared objective. Stronger economic relations through more trade and investment between India and New Zealand, is a key element of this vision.
7. Just before the pandemic broke out, we had the privilege of hosting the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of New Zealand Mr. Winston Peters in New Delhi, who was accompanied by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Mr. David Parker and a high-level business delegation. With the recent telephone call between the two Foreign Ministers and the Third Foreign Office Consultations, we are again picking-up the momentum.
8. There has been a positive growth in bilateral trade in recent years, particularly in the service sector. Education and tourism have provided strong impetus. Both sectors have suffered setbacks due to the pandemic. We need to find new avenues for rejuvenating our economic engagements.
9. India’s growth story provides new opportunities for investment in infrastructure including roads, ports, power sector, renewable energy, and film production. Agriculture, dairy, forestry remain priorities on both sides. Ties in emerging areas such as digital technology and civilian space cooperation can be explored. We are committed to address market access issues.
10. India and New Zealand have worked closely with other like-minded countries in Indo-Pacific by exchanging information and best practices to keep regional supply chains open during the pandemic. Businesses from both sides can complement this effort by seeking long-term partnerships for more diverse and resilient supply chains. A good beginning in this regard has already been made with some of the leading New Zealand companies establishing business in India.
11. India is not just a large market, but it is a diverse market with an immense talent pool. Stronger economic interactions through technology tie-ups and collaborations would be more relevant in the future. India’s vibrant start-up ecosystem provides opportunities for collaborations that can help us define and adjust to the "new normal”.
12. Like in many other countries, the pandemic has impacted economic growth in India as well. We have taken a series of decisive economic measures. The Prime Minister announced transformational reforms and enablers through the Self Reliant India initiatives for building strong capabilities through structural reforms.
13. These measures have started showing early results. India received FDI of US$ 81.72 billion during FY 2020-21, which is the highest ever. Exports in April 2021 have surpassed the pre-COVID-19 figures.
14. The large Indian diaspora in New Zealand is a strong bridge between the two countries and has been a catalyst in our economic relations. We are happy to note that people of Indian origin in New Zealand are doing well in their chosen fields and are rising to leadership positions in the government and in businesses.
15. In a globalised world, talents, ideas and resources often move together. We must also have a long-term perspective for strengthening people-to-people ties to ensure mobility of people, especially talented students and skilled workers.
16. Indian students in New Zealand are an asset to the future of this relationship. Number of students from India to New Zealand, however, has declined over last few years. Giving Indian students the opportunity to work after study, would encourage them to choose New Zealand as a destination for higher studies. The current travel restrictions have affected many students, professionals and their family members who are in India. We look forward to working with New Zealand authorities for facilitating their return.
17. The pandemic has also highlighted the utility of air connectivity. We hope that direct flight between India and New Zealand will start once the travel restrictions ease.
18. I hope that some of these ideas will find resonance in the discussions over next two days.
19. I conclude by thanking the India New Zealand Business Council for providing this hybrid platform for discussion at this critical juncture and to all participants for their commitment to India-New Zealand relations. I am confident that our ties will immensely benefit from these engagements.
This speech was originally published here: https://www.mea.gov.in/Speeches-Statements.htm?dtl/33940/Remarks_by_Minister_of_State_for_External_Affairs_at_the_Inaugural_Ministerial_Session_of_IndiaNew_Zealand_Business_Summit_June_23_2021