India and New Zealand Round Table Meeting
Why in News?
Recently, the first Round Table Joint Meeting between India and New Zealand with the industry and industry associations of both the countries took place in New Delhi.
- The meeting was co-chaired by the Additional Secretary, Department of Commerceand High Commissioner of New Zealand.
What are the Key Highlights of the Meeting?
- Both the countries acknowledged the huge potential in India and New Zealand partnershipand the need for bringing in synergy for enhanced economic relations in areas of mutual interest.
- There was an acknowledged need to work beyond any free trade agreement and explore other areas where both can complement each other.
- The discussions focused on taking forward the objectives of theJoint Trade Committee (JTC), formed under the Bilateral Trade Agreement of 1986.
- New Zealand emphasised on facilitating trade and association with private sectors with some of the key areas being thepromotion of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system, carbon credit co-operation and working on issues like the requests on non-tariff measures for bilateral gains to the businesses of both the sides.
- The need forincreasing the air connectivity links between the two countries was also emphasised.
What are the Key Points about New Zealand?
- Official Name:New Zealand/Aotearoa (Maori)
- Form of Government:Parliamentary democracy
- Official Languages:English, Maori
- Currency:New Zealand dollar
- Major Mountain Ranges:Southern Alps, Kaikoura Ranges
- Highest Mountain Peak:Mount Cook (3,754 meters) – called “Cloud Piercer” by Maori people
- Major Rivers:Waikato, Clurtha, Rangitaiki, Wanganui, Manawatu, Buller, Rakaia, Waitaki and Waiau
- 2 Main Islands:North and South Islands – separated by the Cook Strait
How are India’s Relations with New Zealand?
- Historical Relations: India and New Zealand have a longstanding, friendly and growing relationship with ties going back to the 1800s, when Indians settled in Christchurch around the 1850s.
- Larger numbers of immigrants from Punjab and Gujarat came to New Zealand in the 1890s. Indian troops fought alongside the Anzacs in Gallipoli in 1915.
- Political Relations: India and New Zealand have cordial and friendly relations rooted in the linkages of the Commonwealth, parliamentary democracy, and the English language.
- Both countries became independent in the same year and diplomatic representation of India was established in 1950.
- Other common interests of the two countries include their commitment to disarmament, North-South Dialogue, human rights, ecological preservation and combating international terrorism.
- New Zealand identifiedIndia as a priority country in its “Opening Doors to India” policy notified in October 2011, which was reiterated in 2015.
- Cooperation during Covid-19 Pandemic: Both countries cooperated extensively both bilaterally in fighting against the pandemic by ensuring the continuity of supply chains of essential commodities, medicines, and vaccines.
- India and New Zealand also facilitated the repatriation of each other’s nationals stranded in the wake of Covid-19.
- Trade Relations:India is New Zealand’s 11th largest two-way trading partner with total two-way trade valued at USD 1.80 billion during the year ending September 2020.
- Education and tourism are New Zealand’s growth sectorswith India.
- Indian students (~15000 in number pre-pandemic) are the 2nd largest source of international students for New Zealand.
- India primarilyimports logs and forestry products, wood pulp, wool and edible fruit & nuts from New Zealand and exports mostly pharmaceuticals/medications, precious metals and gems, textiles and motor vehicles and non-knitted apparel and accessories to New Zealand.
- India shares Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with New Zealand.
- Business Alliances:India -New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) and India New Zealand Trade Alliance (INZTA) are the two prominent organizations working to promote India-NZ trade and investment relations.
- Cultural Relations: All Indian festivals including Diwali, Holi, Rakshabandhan, Baisakhi, Guruparv, Onam, Pongal, etc. are celebrated with much enthusiasm all over New Zealand.
- New Zealand has approximately 2,50,000 persons of Indian origin & NRIs, a vast majority of which has made New Zealand their permanent home.
- Civil Aviation Cooperation:Given the large Indian diaspora in New Zealand and increasing two-way tourism flow, there is a strong case for a direct air connection between the two countries which might prove to be a game-change for all aspects of bilateral relations.
- The direct flights operated between the two countries under the Vande Bharat Mission have strengthened the prospects of a direct weekly flight as and when the possibility becomes commercially feasible for airlines.