The new Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Muktesh Pardeshi has finally arrived onshore presenting his credentials to Governor-General Dame Pasty Reddy on Tuesday, July 30, at a ceremony at Government House in Wellington.
He was also accompanied by his wife Rakhi Pardeshi at the ceremony.
Mr Pardeshi’s arrival was long-awaited after the official announcement of his posting as the new High Commissioner to New Zealand earlier this year in February by the office of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India.
At that time he was posted in Mexico and had travelled back home soon after relieving the charge from Mexico City.
Newly appointed High Commissioner of India to New Zealand Muktesh Pardeshi with his wife Rakhi Pardeshi with Governor-General Dame Pasty Reddy at Government House in Wellington.
Mr Pardeshi brings with him a considerable reputation for excellence in e-governance and trade.
In his last posting, he has overseen a phenomenal 70 per cent growth in bilateral trade between Mexico and India under his watchful eyes – a reputation that is set to generate massive expectation in New Zealand.
India-Mexico ´Privileged Partnership’ had seen huge advancement with bilateral trade increased from $5.9 bn in 2015 to $10.1bn in 2018, registering 70 per cent growth over three years.
As opposed to this, the numbers in NZ-India bilateral trade are considerably modest.
India was New Zealand’s 10th largest trading partner in the year to June 2016, with total trade in goods and services worth more than NZ$2.5 billion.
Exports to India were worth NZ$1.7 billion (NZ$656 million in goods, NZ$1 billion in services) with imports worth NZ$821 million (NZ$591 million in goods, NZ$230 million in services).
Creating a social media buzz
For quite some time Mr Pardeshi has been creating a social media buzz amongst the members of Indian community of New Zealand by regularly updating his visits to different states of India and meeting their Chief Ministers and senior officials, especially from states such as Punjab, Gujarat, Telangana, Haryana and Bihar, from where a significant number of Indian migrants have arrived and settled in New Zealand, as a part of his preparation for his new posting.
It is apparent that Mr Pardeshi had worked hard to gain a deep insight into the composition of the broader Indian diaspora in New Zealand and understand their aspirations of connecting back home.
Speaking to the Indian Weekender Mr Pardeshi said, “I consciously chose to make use of my stay back in India between outstation postings by visiting main states sending diaspora to New Zealand to get a better understanding of how family connections work and get an insight of their aspirations.”
“I also met with key stakeholders such as FICCI, Film Association Guild, and other trade-related bodies to get an understanding of how business-business relations between India and New Zealand could be further expanded.”
Earlier, Mr Pardeshi, before coming to New Zealand, speaking with the Indian Weekender from Mexico, had affirmed his top three priorities as expanding the political dialogue between the two countries, improving bilateral trade and investment relations, and expanding people-to-people links between the two countries.
In that respect, Mr Pardeshi’s diligent hard work back in India in connecting with the key states sending diaspora to New Zealand shows his focus is crystal clear on the people – the living bridge between the two countries.
Excited to meet with the community at Hall of Fame Awards
Mr Pardeshi also expressed his excitement about the first opportunity to meet with the members of the community in the upcoming Kiwi-Indian Hall of Fame Awards 2019 in Auckland.
“I am looking forward to meeting with all prominent members of our Indian diaspora, community-leaders, and the top-level leadership of the New Zealand government at the Kiwi-Indian Hall of Fame Honours,” Mr Pardeshi said.
“It is a great opportunity to meet with everyone at the Indian community’s flagship awards,” Mr Pardeshi added.
An alumnus of Delhi University, Mr Pardeshi holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts from Hindu College and Delhi School of Economics respectively (both with the first position in the University) before entering the diplomatic service in 1991.
In a diplomatic career spanning over 28 years, Mr Pardeshi has served in numerous postings in the Ministry and overseas stations around the world.
A reputation of excellence in e-governance
His role as the Joint Secretary (Passport Seva Project) and Chief Passport Officer of India for about five years, has earned wide acclaim and a massive reputation of excellence in e-governance.
Passport Seva Project eventually became the recipient of the National Award on e-Governance (Gold) 2014-15, Web Ratna (Platinum) Award 2014, Computer Society of India-Nihilent e-Governance Award of Excellence 2011-12 and e-INDIA Governance Award 2013.
The Project was also awarded three ISO certifications, namely ISO 9001:2008, 20000:2011 and 27000:2013 in 2015.
Earlier in the week, Mr Pardeshi visited Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Wellington to pay homage to the father of [Indian] nation.