At the invitation of H.E. Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, the Rt Hon Mr John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, undertook a state visit to India from 25-27 October 2016. Prime Minister Key was accompanied on his visit by his wife, Mrs Bronagh Key, as well as a delegation comprising Parliamentarians; businesspeople from a range of sectors of bilateral significance, including innovation, technology and tourism; and representatives of New Zealand educational institutions and cultural organisations with interests in India.
The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their shared desire to further strengthen the growing bilateral relationship between India and New Zealand, which is founded on shared democratic values and Commonwealth heritage, as well as vibrant people-to-people relations and sporting links. The two Prime Ministers noted the strong diaspora connections between India and New Zealand, with Indians now making up around four percent of New Zealand’s population.
The two Prime Ministers underlined the fact that India and New Zealand are both maritime nations with a strong interest in the Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific regions being stable and prosperous, including by ensuring the safety and security of sea lanes and freedom of navigation. Accordingly, the two Prime Ministers agreed to further strengthen the political, defence and security relationship enjoyed by India and New Zealand.
In order to drive this enhanced political-security relationship, the two Prime Ministers agreed that India and New Zealand would:
* Establish a Bilateral Ministerial Dialogue through annual meetings, either in India, New Zealand or on the margins of regional or global gatherings;
* Hold annual Foreign Ministry Consultations at the senior officials level;
* Promote cooperation and dialogue between the two countries on cyber issues;
* Explore prospects for information sharing in support of our mutual interests in maritime security;
* Continue negotiations for a Customs Cooperation Arrangement to facilitate information sharing and to provide a framework for the exchange of new customs procedures and techniques;
* Undertake defence education exchanges, by placing Indian and New Zealand defence personnel on each other’s defence courses and staff colleges; and
* Encourage naval ship visits to each other’s ports, with the next visit of an Indian vessel to coincide with the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary commemorations in November 2016.
The two Prime Ministers commemorated the shared history of sacrifice of New Zealand and Indian servicemen and servicewomen, who had fought and served alongside one another around the world over the past century. They observed that ongoing commemorations of the centenary of World War One were a reminder of this shared history of service and sacrifice.
The two Prime Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation, bilaterally as well as in the framework of UN and especially in 1267 Committee, to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats in all their forms and manifestations. They called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border terrorism. Both sides called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that would contribute to the further strengthening of the international counter-terrorism legal framework.
Prime Minister Key expressed New Zealand’s appreciation for India’s support for its campaign for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The two Prime Ministers pledged to continue the close coordination between the two countries on issues of mutual interest during and beyond New Zealand’s UNSC term, including terrorism sanctions, peacekeeping policy and UNSC reform. The two Prime Ministers called for reform of the UN Security Council including through the ongoing inter-governmental negotiations (IGN) at the UN General Assembly. New Zealand reiterated its support for India’s membership in a reformed UN Security Council, including in any expansion of permanent membership. New Zealand also said it would give careful, positive consideration to India’s candidature as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2021-22.
New Zealand welcomed India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime, which would strengthen global non-proliferation objectives.
New Zealand acknowledged the importance to India of it joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). India stressed that this would provide the predictability necessary for meeting India’s clean energy goals in the context of the Paris agreements. Prime Minister Key stated that New Zealand would continue to contribute constructively to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership. New Zealand is committed to working with NSG members to reach a decision as soon as possible.
India acknowledged the importance to New Zealand of a strong non-proliferation and disarmament regime. It reiterated its commitment to the total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction including in particular nuclear weapons. Pending the global elimination of nuclear weapons, India will uphold global non-proliferation and work with partners such as New Zealand to advance nuclear disarmament.
The Prime Ministers underscored New Zealand and India’s cooperation in regional forums, including the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum. The two Leaders reaffirmed the importance of these regional bodies for furthering the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. Both sides emphasized the importance of all parties maintaining peace and stability in the region.
The Prime Ministers acknowledged the strong and growing education and migration links between New Zealand and India, noting the opportunities in New Zealand for Indian students seeking high value, high quality education programmes which can provide them genuine pathways to fill skill demands in New Zealand, and the strong international linkages between institutions of New Zealand and India. The Prime Ministers recognised the importance of active oversight and regulation to ensure all students are provided high-quality education experiences and underlined the need for on-going coordination between agencies in New Zealand and India to ensure that the existing linkages continue to expand to mutual benefit. They also applauded the commitments made during the visit to strengthen the education relationship.
In recognition of the significant contribution being made to Indian and New Zealand society and economy through people-to-people connections, the Prime Ministers welcomed:
* the signing this year of a Cultural Cooperation Arrangement, to facilitate the promotion of range of cultural activities between India and New Zealand in such areas as literature, dance, film, music and visual arts; and
* the signing of an amendment to the existing Sports Cooperation Arrangement to facilitate greater bilateral youth exchanges.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed the growing flows of tourists between India and New Zealand, and undertook to work towards agreeing amendments to the New Zealand-India Air Services Agreement consistent with air services policy changes made by the Government of India earlier this year.
The two Prime Ministers agreed that the commercial and trading relationship between India and New Zealand was strong, noting that two-way trade was now worth US$1.8 billion in goods & services annually, an increase of 42 percent in the past five years. However, the Prime Ministers noted that bilateral commercial relations could and should be even stronger. The Prime Ministers expressed their wish for greater bilateral trade and investment and:
* Committed to continue to work towards a high-quality, comprehensive and balanced bilateral Free Trade Agreement which would deliver meaningful commercial outcomes to both sides;
* Vowed to ensure that India and New Zealand contribute to a high-quality, comprehensive outcome to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations, of which both countries are parties;
* Announced amendments to the bilateral Double Taxation Agreement to bring its tax cooperation provisions into line with international best-practice; and
* Announced the conclusion of a Food Safety Cooperation Arrangement to encourage greater coordination between New Zealand and Indian food safety authorities, and supporting more efficient trade in food products.
Prime Minister Modi outlined his vision for the transformation of India, including through the Digital India, Startup India, Make in India, Swachh Bharat and Smart Cities initiatives, and invited New Zealand government and commercial entities, including members of the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Key, to participate in them. The two Prime Ministers agreed that New Zealand participation in these initiatives would include:
* The promotion of FDI in India in support of India’s Make in India campaign and development objectives; and
* Greater involvement by New Zealand scientific and commercial entities in Swachh Bharat, including the Clean Ganga initiative, which harnessed New Zealand’s expertise in the clean technology and renewable energy sectors.
The two Prime Ministers reflected on India and New Zealand’s shared love of cricket. Prime Minister Key thanked Prime Minister Modi and the people of India for the warm hospitality extended to the Black Caps during their current tour of India.
Prime Minister Key thanked Prime Minister Modi, and the Government and people of India, for the generous hospitality extended towards him and his delegation during this visit. He invited Prime Minister Modi to undertake a reciprocal visit to New Zealand. The invitation was graciously accepted by the Indian side.