India-NZ interests in Indo-Pacific converging; bilateral ties growing: Envoy David Pine | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

India-NZ interests in Indo-Pacific converging; bilateral ties growing: Envoy David Pine

Apr 12, 2024 10:32 PM IST

India-NZ interests in Indo-Pacific converging; bilateral ties growing: Envoy David Pine

New Delhi, New Zealand's High Commissioner to India David Pine on Friday described his nation's bilateral ties with India as "growing and warming" while emphasising that interests of the two countries in the Indo-Pacific are "converging".

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In response to a question during an interaction hosted by a think-tank here, he also said that New Zealand has been "concerned" about some of the behaviours of China in the South China Sea.

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The outgoing envoy of New Zealand was asked a range of questions, including on Quad and AUKUS groupings, the Indo-Pacific, ties with India, trade and commerce and growing Indian diaspora in his country.

Emphasising on ties with India, he said, "We have seen a great step up in the relationship."

"A greater association, I would say, on both sides is, how much our interests in Indo-Pacific are converging," the envoy added.

Pine also spoke of the recent visit of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of New Zealand, Winston Peters, to India during which he also met and held talks with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.

Peters visited India from March 10-13, his first to the country after the new government in New Zealand assumed office last November.

The envoy mentioned about the "challenges and opportunities" in the Indo-Pacific region that Nea Zealand shares with India while talking about the convergence.

"If I could characterise it metaphorically, it seems that tides of history are pushing us in the same direction," he said.

During the interaction, the envoy also said he felt the India-Nea Zealand bilateral relations are "set to lift on a new solid platform".

Later during the interaction held at Ananta Aspen Centre, he also took some questions from the audience.

On the nature of bilateral ties between Nea Zealand and India at present, he said, "If I have to characterise, I would say, growing and warming. I think that is the direction we are heading in."

He was also asked about his views on killing of Khalistani separatist and designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June 2023 in the Canadian city of Surrey, as New Zealand and Canada are members of the 'Five Eyes' intelligence sharing alliance.

The relations between India and Canada saw bitterness last year over allegations linked with the killing of Nijjar. India has denied the allegation as "absurd and motivated".

The Nea Zealand envoy said India and Canada are "both critical partners" in the Indo-Pacific, bookends of the region and strong partnerships needed for security in the region.

On the growing Indian diaspora in New Zealand, he said, "I am really confident that the Indian diaspora in New Zealand is going to work its magic."

He spoke of the Diwali celebrations in his country and how it is beginning to see the Holi celebrations. But there is need to go beyond "cricket, curry and commonwealth".

On Quad, Pine said, "I think, the Quad is being seen in a new light as a potential very, very good vehicle."

Asked if New Zealand would like to be an 'extended member' of Quad, he said that his country is "very open-minded" on the signals as to how it is going to engage with Quad, but it is "not specified" and it would be "premature for me to talk about it now, about how our engagement would be".

The Quad comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia and it has unveiled a series of initiatives in the last few years with a broad aim to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. China believes the coalition is aimed at containing it.

AUKUS is a grouping of Australia, Britain and the United States.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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