The speaker of the Indian Parliament Hon’ble Ms. Meira Kumar visited New Zealand with a group of five parliamentarians namely Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Shri Bhartruhari Mahtab, Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav and Shri Tarun Mandal.
On the invitation of Rt. Hon Lockwood Smith the speaker of the New Zealand Parliament, this was the first ever Parliamentary Delegation from India.
With the impending Free Trade Agreement negotiations in the back ground, INZBC took this opportunity to host this delegation and further create awareness amongst the Indian Parliamentarians on this issue – with the aim of securing a high quality FTA between the two countries. A glittering reception was held at the Langham Hotel where over 50 top businesses operating or intending to operate in the India-NZ business space were present and listen to the address of Hon. Speaker Ms. Kumar who made a powerful, yet passionate speech, appealing both countries to further their already very cordial relations and thus take this relationship to the next level, by agreeing on a comprehensive high quality FTA.
The visiting Speaker was confident that this visit will re-enforce age old bonds of friendship and understanding NZ and India always enjoyed alongside a great tradition of warm and friendly relations formed on common connection with the British empire and a strong unwavering faith in parliamentary democracy.
In her speech, she dwelled on the fact that both countries cherish democratic values and are committed to the rule of law and respect for human rights – and this shared belief enables both countries to work together and support each other- for their respective stands on issues for climate reforms, ecological preservation - as well as North- South dialogue and Global Peace.
She highly appreciated NZ support of Indian candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council and mentioned that the relationship is growing and India had the honour of receiving Rt. Hon’ble John Key- Prime Minister of NZ and thus provide fresh impetus for this relationship.
Madam Speaker proudly stated that India today is a glowing example for International Peace, 4th largest Economy, target of achieving double digit growth is promising- inclusive growth strategy to ensure that growth is sustainable to reach the poorest of the poor and stressed that the early conclusion of FTA would be instrumental in strengthening economic and commercial ties between the two countries.
She further commended the role of India New Zealand Business Council and thanked Mr. Wenceslaus Anthony its Chair for hosting her delegation and the role the council is playing in improving business relations between the two countries. A memento was presented to the Chair of INZBC by the visiting speaker in appreciation of Mr. Anthony’s contribution. She also mentioned her pleasure at seeing two people of Indian origin in the New Zealand parliament, namely Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Dr. Rajen Prasad.
The Chair of the India-NZ Business Council, Mr. Wenceslaus Anthony gave a detailed and passionate speech about his personal as well as the council’s steadfastness in promoting trade between the two countries. He clearly enumerated the numerous business opportunities that exist between the two countries and the role the business council is playing by interacting with stake holders at all levels on both the Indian as well as the New Zealand side – with an end to conclude a high quality FTA. He said “New Zealand offers excellent investment opportunities for India in forestry, in energy resources especially coal, forestry and in the IT sectors. Large companies like Mahindra-Satyam, HCL Technologies, CMC, WIPRO, Infosys, TCS, Tata Steel, New India Assurance Co. Ltd and Bank of Baroda and Bank of India already have presence in New Zealand.”
Mr. Anthony fondly remembered his visit to India along with Prime Minister Rt. Hon John Key, where they met with his Indian counterpart Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed economic cooperation amongst other things.
Mr. Anthony stated that his focus for the next year one year is to work more closely with FICCI, CII, PHD Chamber of Commerce and ASSOCHAM as these organizations have many leading businesses from various sectors which would be of great help.
Warrick Booth, Regional Manager, Auckland CBD, Commercial & Agri at ANZ said “ANZ is committed to supporting India-New Zealand business growth. We know that for New Zealand to succeed, we need a strong and prosperous economy, which is why ANZ is proud to be Strategic Partner of the India New Zealand Business Council”.
Sunil Kaushal, head of the Indian Segment at ANZ introduced the speakers and Bhav Dhillon member of the executive committee of INZBC concluded the event by thanking the visiting delegation for taking time out of their busy schedules to come and add to the growing relationship New Zealand and India share. Community leaders representing numerous Indian Community organisations were also present on this occasion along with officials accompanying the delegation and staff from the High Commission of India in Wellington.