Muktesh Pardeshi, India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand believes that bilateral relations between the two countries should go beyond government-to-government relationship, manifesting in a higher level engagement between businesses.
Speaking at the Inaugural Session of Summit 2019 of the New Zealand India Business Council (INZBC) held at Pullman Hotel in Auckland yesterday (Monday, October 14, 2019), he said that there are immense opportunities to strengthen commercial, economic, trade and industrial ties between India and New Zealand.
“While we recognise the importance of higher levels of engagement between the two countries, we should identify the areas where potential exists and take steps to utilise the existing and emerging opportunities. One of the most significant measures that we should exercise is to ensure the presence of New Zealand businesses in India and vice-versa. We would also be happy if investors and businesses from this country participate in our ‘Make in India Programme’ and enhance their performance,” he said.
Importance of SMEs
Mr Pardeshi underscored the importance of Small and Medium Enterprises, saying that promoting them would an essential step towards closer relationships. “SMEs have an extensive range of products and services to offer both in India and New Zealand. We should find ways and means of harnessing their contributions for a more meaningful increase in our bilateral relations,” he said.
Earlier, INZBC Chairman Sameer Handa opened the one-day Summit which comes under the Council’s ‘India Unplugged Series,’ outlining the aims and objectives of the event and the role being played by the two governments, various organisations and INZBC.
Chapters in India
Mr Handa announced said that INZBC would open two chapters in India, one each in Delhi and Mumbai and announced the appointment of Bharat Joshi (Chief Executive, J Curve Ventures) in Delhi and Sreedhar Venkatram (Chief Executive, South Asia of CricHQ) in Mumbai.
“Both the Chapter Heads will be representing INZBC in India and we look forward to developing more programmes and delegations with them,” he said.
Mr Handa said that in response to an invitation from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, INZBC would be leading a business delegation with the Auckland based Bihar Foundation in January 2020.
“The Bihar Government is rolling out a red carpet for investors in the field of agriculture, dairy, food processing and other sectors. The delegation will also attend the Indus Food Expo 2020 scheduled to be held on January 8 and January 9, 2020 at Exposition Mart in Greater Noida,” he said.
Among the speakers at the Inaugural Session were Employment Minister Willie Jackson, Fonterra Asia Pacific Chief Executive Judith Swales and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Australia Country Head Jasmeet Singh.
Labour MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ethnic Communities Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan chaired a Panel Session with the main speakers and others. “We have a strong Kiwi-Indian community and such, we should be able to engage more meaningfully with India. We live in an increasingly interdependent world, driven by globalisation and digital revolution. Our people are out biggest asset,” she told us.
A Statue for Mahatma Gandhi
Speaking at the Auckland Diwali 2019 held at Aotea Square on Saturday, October 12, 2019, Mr Pardeshi asked the local government to allocate space at an appropriate location for installing a Statute of Mahatma Gandhi. “India and indeed the World, is celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and as a City which accounts for the largest number of Indians in New Zealand, I believe that it would be appropriate to have his Statue. It would be a fitting gesture. We have a Statue of Gandhi in front of the Railway Station in Wellington,” he said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern inaugurated the Festival and spoke about the growing relations with India and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff praised the growing diversity in the country’s largest City.