New Zealand must seize the ‘Indian Opportunity’
New Zealand should not miss the opportunities that India presents for enhancing mutually beneficial relationship and tap into the immense investment and commercial business potential, a senior Indian diplomat has said.
“With its business friendly environment, market reforms, huge market and growing middle class with high levels of disposal income, India has become the flavour of the world,” India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Admiral Sureesh Mehta said.
He said the Indian and New Zealand Governments were keen to conclude a successful Free Trade Agreement as soon as possible and that such an Agreement will facilitate a larger volume of two-way trade and investment.
“However, there are several areas that offer possibilities for more intensive engagement. Education, investment and joint ventures are sectors that have immense potential to New Zealand businesses and investors,” he said.
Mr Mehta was speaking at the Rotary Club of Harbourside in Auckland on August 10, ahead of India’s 64th anniversary of Independence.
“The annual flow of Foreign Direct Investment is $US 30 billion, with $US 200 billion worth of business potential for foreign companies. Almost all major international companies have established their presence in India. The ever- increasing domestic demand for goods and services, a strong services sector, high rate of consumption and high-end technology are among the drivers of growth,” he said.
India has a huge domestic market and hence largely immune to global financial crisis and recession that has afflicted the rest of the world. Although a free market economy, India remains insulated from the effects of global economic crises, he said.
Mr Mehta said India has always been serious about its international obligations and that at the height of its Balance of Payment crisis in 1991, it sold 67 tons of gold to the International Monetary Fund as a part of a bailout deal and promise of economic restricting.
“Since then, we have had no occasion to look back. Today, India is the fourth largest economy in the world, accounting with GDP of $US 1.2 trillion and Purchasing Power Parity of $US 4.3 trillion . Even as other countries were reeling under recession, the Indian economy grew respectively by 6.5% and 9% in 2008 and 2009, with impressive levels of growth expected this year,” he said.
According to him, rising levels of literacy, employment opportunity and the buoyancy in the economy will reduce the gap between the rich and poor and that over the next 25 years, the poverty level will decline to less than 200 million.
Club President Dan Maharaj said the Rotary Club of Auckland Harbourside was unique with its multicultural outlook comprises members of Chinese, European, Indian and Pacific Islands ethnicity.
He said his Club pools its collective and individual abilities to foster projects and programmes that deliver community care and welfare.
“Our club has supported many national and international projects such as Breast Cancer Research Trust, Disability Resource Centre, Fiji Heart Foundation for the Education of Needy Children in Fiji, North Shore Life Centre St John’s Ambulance, Starship Foundation (all based in Auckland) and the Water Project in Samoa. We seriously pursue the Rotary International motto of ‘Service above Self’ in all our activities,” he said.
President-Elect (2012-2013) Shefali Mehta said her Club evinces interest in Youth Leadership programmes such as the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and the Australia-New Zealand Student Exchange Programme.
“We sponsor Students from the age of 13 to 21 to participate in Rotary New Generation Projects,” she said.
Read related stories on India’s Independence in this issue