India’s importance to New Zealand is growing.
This reflects the country’s expanding economy, which has emerged strongly from global recession, its growing geopolitical importance, and its increased openness to the rest of the world.
India is a priority relationship for New Zealand and our most-developed relationship in South Asia.
This was recognised by our ministers visiting India over the past month.
New Zealand and India share strong people-to-people links through migration, tourism, sport and education.
This partnership deepens those close ties and provides opportunities for important academic research in both our countries.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has welcomed the establishment of the ‘New Zealand India Research Institute,’ heralding the start of a closer research relationship between New Zealand and India.
The Institute will be based at Victoria University in Wellington and involve nearly 40 academics from five Universities around New Zealand, namely, Victoria, Auckland, Massey, Canterbury and Otago.
The closeness between education industries of the two countries is reflected in the fact that up to eight memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed between New Zealand and Indian institutions covering areas such as vocational training, joint research training, student exchanges and ICT.
Further, greater collaboration and trade between New Zealand and India in the aviation sector is set to grow following the recent signing of the India New Zealand Aviation Arrangement in New Delhi.
This is important because India is predicted to jump from the ninth-largest civil aviation market in the world to third position by 2020.
Domestic air traffic in India is expected to grow from 46 million to 90 million passengers per year, with international traffic soaring from 34 million to 90 million by 2020.
This rapidly-growing market provides massive opportunities for New Zealand companies involved in aviation and the aviation agreement will strengthen the business relationship between the two countries.
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson attended the 11th Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad in October.
This conference bought together about 8000 delegates, including representatives from states, non-government organisations and indigenous people’s groups.
New Zealand has a long history of actively engaging in these meetings.
The decisions, covering a wide range of issues, set international environmental standards with the potential to cut across our agricultural and trade interests.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is Member of Parliament on National List.