New Zealand governor-general to visit India next week

September 1st, 2008 - 3:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 1 (IANS) New Zealand’s Governor-General Anand Satyanand will make a week-long state visit to India beginning Sep 8 to reaffirm the strength of the growing bilateral relationship especially in trade and economy.The governor-general, accompanied by his wife Susan, will visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad Sep 8-14.

Besides meeting President Pratibha Patil and attending a State banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Satyanand will also meet Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and other key leaders.

He will also visit the Commonwealth War Graves site in New Delhi and deliver a speech on New Zealand-India bilateral relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

In Mumbai and Hyderabad, Satyanand will attend meetings with the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh governments and various businesses.

India was New Zealand’s 23rd largest trading partner and 22nd most important destination for merchandise exports in the year ending June 2007. New Zealand’s merchandise exports to India in the year to December 2007 totalled NZ$ 360 million, an increase of 130 percent over the 2003 figure.

“There is already significant mutual trade between New Zealand and India and there is considerable potential to increase that even further,” says Satyanand, an Indo-Fijian who was sworn in as the country’s 19th governor-general in August 2006.

“Our two countries have much in common, including use of the English language, a Westminster parliamentary democracy, a common law-based legal system, Commonwealth ties and sporting affiliations in cricket and hockey,” Satyanand has said.

Coal has been the main driver of the increase in New Zealand exports to India followed by wool, log and wood pulp, leather, fruit products and laboratory equipment.

Electric transformers, sorting machinery, transmission and telecommunications equipment all now feature in New Zealand’s top 20 exports to India.

In the services trade with India, tourism, education and film have been the mainstay. Indian visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the year ending January 2008 were 22,244, contributing around NZ$70 million a year to the economy.

Over 120 Indian film crews have undertaken filming in New Zealand and 4,000 Indian overseas students enrolled in New Zealand educational institutions in 2007, contributing around NZ$100 million a year to the economy.

Satyanand’s investiture two years ago marked the growing diversity of New Zealand, which has embraced migrants from Asia, Pacific Island nations and Europe, and has made the 120,000 citizens of Indian descent proud.

“Our ties are underpinned by the significant community of New Zealanders of Indian origin who have made their home here. While I was born and bred in New Zealand, it is a great honour to return to the homeland of my grandparents, representing my country as governor-general of New Zealand,” Satyanand has said.

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