From the Kiwi-Indian perspective, there is nothing more exciting in the current politics than the prospect of Jacinda-Modi meeting next week in the Philippines and the unfolding of magic thence after.
The sixth Labour-led government is ready to burst seams, as is evident from its oft-repeated intent, and indeed going by its intent and vision so far, foreign policy is the least priority of this government.
However, that does not stop Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern from shining at the international stage this week and after when she will be out and about for international summits.
The majority of mainstream media is waiting to observe how Ms Ardern stands out against the likes of Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Shinjo Abe or the younger leaders of her generation and charisma in domestic politics like Justin Trudeau.
The prospect of meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not attracting much attention.
Probably, it also suffers from a short-sightedness that many in New Zealand foreign policy bureaucracy do where they tend to see India as a distant power with the limited scope of influencing New Zealand’s core interests.
Indeed, this view was true ages ago, at least till the end of the Cold War, when India had kept itself locked economically and strategically within the Indian subcontinent.
However, since the end of the Cold War, 'that' India of the past has transformed into a fast-growing outward looking regional power.
This outwardness and preparedness in engaging with the outer world further accelerated under the current Narendra Modi-led government in New Delhi.
Recently, India became the fastest growing major economy in the world.
Certainly, New Zealand had taken a note of this changed India when it launched NZ Inc. India strategy in 2011 with the stated goal of doubling trade with India in five years time.
Towards this goal, former Prime Minister Sir John Key visited India two times in the last eight years.
Like everywhere else in life, some goals were met while others proved too elusive to match with the allotted time expectation set for those goals.
Perhaps, it is the delay in achieving those ambitious trade goals set against an unrealistic time-frame from the very beginning that might explain the restricted worldview of New Zealand foreign policy bureaucracy about India.
To be fair to foreign policy bureaucracy, surely this is also not completely incorrect.
In fact, this is quite a common situation within international diplomacy which is only resolved through personal meetings, and if possible, bonhomie between the top-level political leadership of any two countries.
This is exactly where Jacinda-Modi magic could possibly unfold and in not so very distant future, and take this already growing bilateral relationship to the next level.
And the reason for this bursting hope lies in the individual personality of the two leaders.
If Jacinda is the queen of hearts of New Zealanders, then Modi also commands a level of popularity among the billion-plus citizenry of India and millions of Indian diaspora living around the world, including NZ, which only a popular King could aspire.
The benefit of such personalities at top level political leadership always creates a potential of achieving the unachievable in any bilateral relationship.
However, to materialise any of this, Ms Ardern would need to learn and implement a lot from Helen Clark school of international politics – and thinking out of the box would be one thing that would be highly prized.
Ms Clark had shocked the world by stealing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China – a rising power and economic powerhouse that many feared to engage either economically or politically in the global west.
The positive outcome on New Zealand is for everyone to see.
Similarly, some political ingenuity will be required by Ms Ardern in cracking a transformative relationship with India.
Like Ms Clark did in the case of China – defying all conventional wisdom, both within and outside New Zealand, Ms Ardern would also need to defy all conventional wisdom which currently brackets India as a difficult case of FTA.
Instead, there is an urgent need for viewing this relationship from the perspective of the Indian diaspora in New Zealand and India’s growing profile and capability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Such a perspective has immense potential to offer valuable benefits to New Zealand in the short and long run.
Security is a scarce resource in the Indo-Pacific region, which could affect New Zealand’s economic security (through affecting free trade by sea lanes in Indo-Pacific region), if not physical security.
And Ms Ardern would have to think ahead and think outside the box to build a strong partnership with India which is a net security provider in the Indian-Pacific region.
Added to this, the giant strides made by India recently in the area of clean, green energy, which in Ms Ardern’s own word is her “nuclear-free moment,” would be another area of bonhomie with India.
Indeed, opportunities are immense, and it is only for politically sagacious and charismatic ones to achieve some.
The Indian Weekender wishes all the best to Ms Ardern on her first major overseas trip and sincerely hopes for a Jacinda-Modi magic to unfold soon.