Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his New Zealand counterpart John Key in Washington on Thursday during which they discussed bilateral co-operation in trade, technology and tourism.
“Discussing stronger India-New Zealand ties with @johnkeypm,” tweeted the Prime Minister’s Office.
Modi, who arrived in Washington in the wee hours of Thursday to attend the two-day Nuclear Security Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama, began his diplomatic engagement with the meeting with Prime Minister Key.
The ongoing T-20 World Cup Cricket tournament figured in talks between the two leaders of both the cricket-crazy nation.
The Indian team was batting in Mumbai against West Indies on the T20 World Cup semi-finals when Key met Modi at his hotel in New Delhi on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit.
Incidentally New Zealand handed India a shock defeat at the start of the T20 tournament.
“Not just cricket on the agenda” as prime ministers Modi and Key had their first meeting, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
“Lots on the agenda,” he said in another tweet. The two leaders discussed co-operation in trade, technology, tourism and education.
During the meet, Key said the Indian community in New Zealand is doing very well and the country is hosting a large number of Indian students.
In fact, he said, because of his government’s decision to permit students to work 20 hours a week, many more foreign students are coming to his country than in the past.
“Prime Minister said he would like more Indian students to study in New Zealand. He said that Indian students living in New Zealand feel at home. They feel safe and secure. In this context he encouraged the New Zealand government to take more proactive and aggressive campaign in Indian universities to attract more Indian students, just as Australia and Singapore have done,” Swarup said.
Key also said that New Zealand had concluded a successful free trade agreement a few years ago and he was keen on signing a FTA with India as well.
“Of course he recognised that this was a prospect for a long term,” Swarup said.
Modi talked about India’s interest in dairy technology, in which New Zealand is considered to be a pioneer.
“Prime Minister said that India is one of the largest producers of milk but when it comes to processing milk, we are not so good. So New Zealand could find a very good market in India, particularly now that the food processing sector has been enabled to obtain 100% FDI,” he said.
Key told the Modi that Bollywood has done a lot to promote tourism in New Zealand. The Prime Minister said that Bollywood has certainly contributed to packaging New Zealand as a tourist destination.
“In this context, both leaders underscored the need to have a direct flight between India and New Zealand. Currently, Singapore Airlines is providing third country service to New Zealand, but there are no direct flights between India and New Zealand,” Swarup