Venkat Raman –
The Indian Diaspora has a unique advantage of linking two cultures and function as ambassadors of goodwill and understanding, a senior Indian politician has said.
“New Zealand and India are two countries that are linked by common destiny, common bond and common penchant for democratic traditions. We should engage in discussions that strengthen our bond and common good. We must promote mutual interests and objectives,” she said, speaking at an event organised by the Indian Culture Centre in Wellington.
“India’s engagement with the world is not limited to exports and imports. We have strong ties with friendly nations and cooperate with them in every field,” she said.
Ms Mahajan, a senior politician from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, is the second woman speaker of Lok Sabha, elected to the office following the election of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power in the general elections held in May 2014.
She was leading a delegation of five cross-party MPs and 12 Parliamentary Affairs officials from India to New Zealand on the invitation of Speaker David Carter.
Earlier, on September 18, speaking at a dinner hosted by New Zealand First MP Mahesh Bindra at the Langham Hotel, she said that India has never been an aggressor with territorial ambitions over other countries.
“We are a country of peace-loving people. We have never invaded any country. We have always promoted goodwill and harmony. As such, we identify the Indian Diaspora as Indians and then as Kiwi Indians. They live and represent the Indian fraternity in New Zealand,” she said.
New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters called for great cooperation among Commonwealth countries in general and New Zealand and India in particular.
“The combined Gross Domestic Product of Commonwealth countries is predicted to hit US$14 trillion by 2020.
“We already have a model for what could happen with our Closer Economic Relations with Australia. We believe that we should now have ‘Closer Commonwealth Economic Relations’ and CCER is about Free Trade. It could be the means to bring in other Commonwealth States, alongside your country, which is an emerging economic giant.
It could make the Commonwealth an economic colossus,” he said.
New Zealand India Central Association (NZICA) and Auckland Indian Association (AIA) hosted a luncheon reception at the Mahatma Gandhi Center on September 18.
Paying tributes to the Indian community, Ms Mahajan said, “Together, we have to prosper; we have to share our resources and help each other grow, both economically and culturally,” she said.
She presented mementos to a number of organisations promoting Indian culture, language and traditions.
Among the other speakers were former NZICA and Current Presidents Harshad Patel and Bhikhu Bhana, Indian High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli and AIA President Parshottam Govind.