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Opening Statement by External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar at Joint Press Interaction with the Foreign Minister of New Zealand

October 06, 2022

Thank you, Minister.

Let me begin by saying what a great pleasure it is for me to be in New Zealandand I echo your sense of this being part of a continuing conversation between us, which actually began with some telephone calls, I think during the more intense Covid period and then as you would recall, we met in Paris and then in Kigali. I see this, not just as a visit, but really an endeavour by two countries very respectful of each other's traditions and culture, very conscious of their diverse nature, to forge a more contemporary relationship, and a more contemporary one because I think we do recognize today that countries like India & New Zealand have a particular responsibility in forging a post-colonial order, which is fairer, which is more equitable, and which will provide the prosperity and stability to large parts of the world with which we are historically linked. In terms of our meeting today, obviously a large part of our conversation went to strengthening our bilateral relationship and the sum and substance of it was really an understanding that we should play to each other’s strengths, which specifically meant business, education, technology, digital world, agricultural trade, talent, and most of all people to people connect because that's at the heart of both our societies.

We spoke a bit about the need for better air connectivity. I also raised with the Minister, concerns which some of our students have faced, students who had to leave New Zealand during the Covid period and who didn't have the opportunity to get their visas renewed. I urged a fairer and more sympathetic treatment for them, also students who are waiting to come to New Zealand to pursue their studies and whether the visa process for them could be hastened. We also touched upon the skills demand in each society. There are perhaps demands in New Zealand which could be met out of India, and we have a mobility understanding with many countries, so the possibility whether those couldserve as guidance for progress between us.

There was also a very open discussion on how India and New Zealand together will shape the larger region, the Indo-Pacific region. There was a discussion on some current, some pressing issues like the security situation in the Indo-Pacific, the consequences of the Ukraine conflict and naturally we spent some time on the major global issues, most of all climate action, climate justice. Some of the initiatives which India has been sponsoring over the last few years - the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for the Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, the Initiative for the Resilient Island States and their importance of collaborating not just bilaterally, but with other countries to deal with contingencies like pandemics, which we know will surely recur at some point in time and, of course, other common concerns, maritime security for example.

So, all in all, I would say it has been, Minister, a very good day of discussions and exchange of views and I'm really very pleased today to find some way of contributing to the strengthening of our ties. We would be very honoured if we have the privilege of receiving you, Minister, in India, I hope not in the very distant future. I think this evening, I have the opportunity to spend time with the Indian community which has done so much to be a living bridge between us. I hope, I will have the opportunity of meeting the Prime Minister on that occasion as well and spending a little time in New Zealand, including, in inaugurating our new Embassy premises in Wellington. So, once again, very good to be here and thank you for warm reception and the productivity of our talks.

October 06, 2022

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