Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Jaishankar inaugurates new IHC Chancery in New Zealand

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday inaugurated the new Indian High Commission Chancery in Wellington and said that playing with each other’s strengths is a more sensible way of growing the important relationship between India and New Zealand.
Jaishankar, who is here on his first visit to New Zealand as the External Affairs Minister, also said that the relationship between both countries is “due for an update”, and “due for refresh”.
“Inaugurated the new Indian High Commission Chancery in Wellington today. Three Ministerial visits in a short span of time reflect our shared desire to grow India-New Zealand ties and make them fit for purpose,” Jaishankar tweeted on Sunday.
The relationship between India and New Zealand “draws strength from the vision and commitment of our Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @jacindaardern,” he tweeted.
While addressing members of the Indian community, he addressed the possibilities for increased cooperation in various sectors like business, digital and agriculture sectors.
“The more sensible way of growing our relationship is really to play with each other’s strengths. We must find ways for doing more business because, at the end of the day, business is good for any relationship. For once if there is a strong business foundation to a business relationship, that relationship is truly strong and steady,” he said.
“Possibilities abound in business, digital, agriculture, education, skills, traditional medicine and maritime security domains. Stronger cooperation will ensure peace, prosperity and progress of our common region,” he tweeted.
“In recent years our Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Jacinda Ardern have established a relationship, meeting from time to time often on the sidelines of the events… It does make a difference when the leaders of the highest level meet and also makes a difference when Foreign Ministers get along very well,” he said while addressing the gathering during the inauguration of the new Chancery.
“We sincerely believe that India and New Zealand relationship is due for an update, is due for a refresh…,” he said.
“There are so many challenges, so many possibilities which are important for countries like India and New Zealand to think openly with an engaging approach to help ourselves and help the world.”
“So, I was pleased that I had an opportunity to send that message out that India is open for business, that we would like to see more of New Zealand, and there are areas where you have experiences, best practices and capabilities that make a big difference. And if those in some way be deployed in India, can be deployed through your own initiatives, partnerships with Indians and joint ventures it would be something that we would value and you will benefit from,” he added.
The other area which really invites greater cooperation is the digital connection, Jaishankar said.
“Perhaps the most remarkable change taking place in India is the domain of digital public goods. The fact that we have been able to create a digital backbone, and on that backbone, we are able to deliver the services to the people on a scale of efficiency and honesty,” he said.
He also said that there are a lot of possibilities between India and New Zealand when it comes to partnerships in the field of agro-business.
“India is moving out of the era of subsistence farming. Today, we are not only providing largely for our own but Indian agriculture is starting to make its presence with global partners as well. Whether it is agriculture, dairy or food processing, we see a lot of possibilities of partnership between India and New Zealand,” he said.
He also touched upon the topic of direct air connectivity between India and New Zealand and said that it will be taken care of. “Believe me one trip to New Zealand, and I understand why you need this,” he said.
In respect of Indian students here, he said that they have had tough times during COVID.
“None of us had an easy time during COVID. But students perhaps took a bigger hit than most of us. So, I urged the Prime Minister (Ardern) and the Foreign Minister (Nanaia Mahuta) to take a sympathetic and understanding view of students who enter and I was glad to be assured that they would approach the issue sympathetically.” So, he said, he expected to see some progress on this front.
On the Indo-Pacific, he said that India and New Zealand are part of the two opposite ends of the resource-rich region.
“When we think of the world for India and New Zealand, the Indo-Pacific comes to mind. Because if you look at the larger Indo-Pacific region, we are at the two opposite ends.”
“But, the fact is that each one of us has something to contribute to that common region of which we are part. And we can contribute to it individually, but one of the basics of diplomacy is your work with others, you get more done,” he said.
“Diplomacy is a surge for like-minded partners with whom you have common interests and figure out ways to make those ways manifest themselves.” the minister said.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
He also said that “we have a fine example of cooperation in cricket as well.”
“Nobody in India will ever forget John Wright or anybody who watches IPL would ignore Stephen Fleming. With cricket, we always exchange our good wishes to everybody even if we want our own team to win.”
After New Zealand, the External Affairs Minister will go to Canberra and Sydney which will be his second visit to Australia this year.


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