Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Muktesh Pardeshi has expressed satisfaction with the level of Kiwi-engagement with India’s flagship multilateral foreign policy conference – Raisina Dialogue 2020 – held in New Delhi from January 14-16.

“The fact that New Zealand was represented by former Prime Minister Helen Clark and senior foreign policy bureaucrats, Naval commander, academicians and journalist is a sign of the importance that our both countries place in this important bilateral relationship,” Mr Pardeshi told the Indian Weekender.

Notably, Helen Clark was included among the very first inaugural panel of global leaders and former heads of states at India’s prestigious foreign policy conference which was also attended by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Graham Morton, Principal Adviser, Americas and Asia, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Photo: INZBC)

Mr Modi also warmly met with Ms Clark separately at the sidelines of the inaugural panel, indicating the value that New Delhi puts on this relationship in the South-Pacific region.

“It is also a reflection of our growing mutual convergence in the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region and the interests that binds our two nations in this vibrant region,” Mr Pardeshi said.

Meanwhile, Ms Clark had put forward New Zealand’s voice in a firm manner about climate change – a global issue that not only affects this region (South-Pacific) but also the entire world – asserting that the issue will be one of the most pressing global issue in the coming decade.

New Zealand’s deputy head of Navy, Commodore Melissa Ross

According to four out of seven former heads of state at the Raisina Dialogue 2020, climate change will be the dominating theme in the coming decade, while the other two themes will be technology and global security.

Ms Clark had spoken on a number of panels including the one on Women and future of the United Nations, where she emphasised on the need of role models to inspire women to become leaders in their respective countries and at the world stage.

The other prominent speaker from New Zealand was New Zealand’s deputy head of Navy, Commodore Melissa Ross, who appeared on a panel discussing how to strengthen democracy in the Indo-Pacific and what was New Zealand’s role in that.

Graham Morton, Principal Adviser, Americas and Asia, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Suzannah Jessep, Director, Director Research and Engagement, Asia New Zealand Foundation, were other prominent senior foreign policy bureaucrats.

Suzannah Jessep, Director, Director Research and Engagement, Asia New Zealand Foundation

Both Mr Morton and Ms Jessep had previously been posted at the New Zealand High Commission to India as High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner respectively.

Asia New Zealand Foundation – is New Zealand’s leading authority on Asia that provide experiences and resources to help New Zealanders build their knowledge, skills and confidence to thrive in Asia.

The foundation had also facilitated the participation of a leading India-expert Victoria University’s academic and the current Director of the New Zealand India Research Institute Dr Manjeet Pardeshi and Kiwi-Journalist Katie Bradford to the 5th edition of the prestigious Raisina Dialogue.

The Dialogue, jointly organised by MEA and the Observer Research Foundation, has been India’s contribution to global efforts to discover solutions, identify opportunities and provide stability to a century that has witnessed an eventful two decades.