New Indian envoy seeks inclusive engagement

Higher levels of cooperation to boost bilateral ties, closer working relationships with businesses and the Indian Diaspora and a unified approach to sustain cooperation are on the agenda of Ravi Thapar, India’s new High Commissioner to New Zealand.

He is due to arrive in this country over the next few weeks (succeeding Avanindra Kumar Pandey who left for home last fortnight following retirement) to head his country’s diplomat mission at a time when the Indian and New Zealand Governments are considering closer economic cooperation.

Speaking to Indian Newslink from his office in Beirut where he is currently India’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Mr Thapar said that he believes in ‘inclusive engagement’ with all peoples who are connected to India either through origin or business interest.

Potential areas

“The focus of my assignment would also be to promote closer relationship and cooperation in agriculture, farming, dairy and many other areas. There is great potential to work together in information technology, offshore banking, back office support to mention a few. As well as seeking higher levels of commercial and economic cooperation, we look forward to sustained relationship and coordinated efforts in other areas. Many of these are unfolding through joint ventures in dairy, commerce, digital commerce, education, films and entertainment,” he said.

Time benefits

Stating that different time zones separating India from developed countries have accrued mutual benefits, Mr Thapar said that improved connectivity has also worked to enhance India’s competitive advantage.

“Thus, a company in the US or New Zealand can request for information or service at 6 pm and expect to receive a reply or solution by the time it opens for business the next morning. Working with India, New Zealand can become a hub for several activities,” he said.

With its large and growing youthful population, India offers a base for manufacturing, agriculture, agro-research, science and technology, information and computer technology, back office support and offshore banking, he said.

“India has credentials as a peace-loving nation. We believe in the human society, rule of law and global progress and prosperity. Every country aspires to have a well-developed economy and India has the vision to become a major economic power in the world,” Mr Thapar said.

His earlier assignments include India’s diplomatic missions in Italy (Milan), Paramaribo (Suriname), San Francisco (US) and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), in addition to tours of duty in various capacities at the External Affairs Ministry in Delhi.

Married to Sharmila, the couple have two daughters.

Next Issue: Agenda for friendship with Kiwi businesses and Indian Diaspora

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