After an obligatory mention of the India and New Zealand cricket match in Ranchi for the fourth One Day International, Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on the issues of trade, investment and terrorism which will impact both the nations during his joint statement with New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key.
Before raising the issue of terrorism, Modi and Key discussed investment and trade ties between the two countries. They recognised the need for greater economic engagement in order to effectively respond to the growing uncertainties in global economy.
The leaders also agreed to expand business and commercial ties. Modi referred to food processing, dairy and agriculture as areas with particular potential for bilateral cooperation. “New Zealand’s strength and capacity in these sectors can combine with India’s vast technology needs to build partnerships that can benefit both our societies,” he said.
However, while the leaders recognised the need to enhance cooperation in these sectors, no decision or agreement was signed. It might be because New Delhi is extremely protective of its market in agricultural products and detest a drop in tariff, as this Firstpost article points out. The high tariff on some agricultural products makes it uneconomic for outsiders.
They also agreed that the two-way trade had increased by 42 percent but noted that commercial relations could and should be even stronger. However, the talks over the Free Trade Agreement are still continuing. As was noted by Firstpost earlier, both the countries have been working on it since 2010. New Zealand wanted to push through the impasse in the negotiations during Key's visit but unfortunately, the countries decided to “continue” to work towards the agreement.
Both the leaders also agreed to promote greater business connectivity through the movement of skilled professionals and signed the double taxation avoidance agreement. Therefore, even though the two countries did not come to a specific conclusion about the trade of goods, they made significant steps to boost services through this protocol.
After addressing the important issue of trade with New Zealand, which has been dwindling in recent years, Modi went on to thank Key for Wellington’s support to New Delhi joining a reformed UN Security Council as a permanent member. He also expressed his gratitude to New Zealand’s PM for considering India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
New Zealand also welcomed India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime.
Modi and Key also agreed to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security. They also recognised terrorism as one of the greatest challenges to global peace and security.
The growing migration and education links between the two nations were also recognised by the leaders. They also recognised the need 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.
These are the agreements signed by both the countries in brief:
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) October 26, 2016
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Updated Date: Oct 27, 2016 07:35:47 IST