“New Zealand has made tremendous progress in dairy development, food processing, communications and information technology, clean energy and water, disaster management, biotechnology, healthcare and services, to mention a few,” Mukherjee said in his speech during a banquet hosted in his honour by New Zealand Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae after his arrival here from Papua New Guinea earlier in the day.
“We would very much like to enhance our bilateral co-operation in these areas, learn from the successful experience and practices of New Zealand and collaborate with you in creating new and innovative products and technology,” he said.
Stating that India looked forward to new partnerships with New Zealand in areas of common interest, he said: “We invite investors and entrepreneurs from New Zealand to join Indian counterparts in the ‘Make in India’ initiative of my government.”
Mukherjee said that bilateral relations between India and New Zealand gained a new momentum since the visit of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to India in June, 2011.
“In 2013, our bilateral trade crossed $1 billion,” he said.
“However, given the relative size of our economies and the wide convergence of interests in many areas, we both agree that the present level of trade and investment needs to be vigorously advanced in order to realise its substantial potential.”
The president sought India’s cooperation in reforming the UN Security Council (UNSC) and said that India stood ready to shoulder greater responsibilities in the international arena.
“In the United Nations Security Council, New Zealand has addressed issues of global security and highlighted the challenges faced by smaller states,” he said.
“The impressive support that New Zealand garnered in last year’s UNSC election revealed both the quality of your diplomacy and the trust that other countries have placed in you. We look forward to enhanced cooperation between our two countries both in the regional as well as global context.”
Referring to the Indian diaspora, Mukherjee said that New Zealand was home to more than 170,000 people of Indian origin.
“Our people to people contacts are growing. Indian students are increasingly opting for higher studies in New Zealand and we are seeing enhanced tourist flows in both directions,” he said.
Mukherjee’s is the first ever presidential visit from India to New Zealand.
According to the New Zealand country strategy paper, its goal is to have India as a core trade, economic, and political partner.
The president’s visit is aimed at realising that goal, Jaideep Mazumdar, joint secretary (South) in the ministry of external affairs, said at a media briefing in New Delhi ahead of the visit.
New Zealand supports India’s aspirations for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
People-to-people ties between India and New Zealand have traditionally been close.
The number of Indian students in New Zealand has grown exponentially over the last few years to about 23,000.
Last year, 43,000 Indian tourists went to New Zealand and from the New Zealand side there were about 25,000 tourists to India.
Apart from its strengths in agriculture and dairy farming, New Zealand has certain unique high technology skills and strengths as well.
Security systems in the Indian parliament, Hindustan Aeronautics or the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) among other locations are developed and installed by a New Zealand company.
While the Mumbai Police uses amphibious boats which are manufactured by a New Zealand company, the Coast Guard of India uses jet propulsion engines in their patrol boats that are manufactured by a New Zealand firm.
Air cargo handling systems, conveyor belts and even the design of several malls in India has been done by New Zealand companies.
New Zealand also has great technological abilities in cold storage supply chain management and post-harvest technologies, which are of interest to India.