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‘Look forward…’: Luxon Has A Message For India’s Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi’s BJP is set to lead NDA coalition government for a third time

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has expressed hopes of a “meaningful lift” in bilateral relations with India in his congratulatory message for Narendra Modi, who is set to become India’s prime minister for a record third term on the trot.

“Warm congratulations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian election results. Wonderful to see the celebration of democracy in the world’s largest voting exercise,” Luxon posted on X on Thursday morning. 

Voters in the world’s biggest democracy cast their mandate in the general elections over the last few weeks, and the results were announced earlier this week. 

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Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to lead a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition government for a third time on the trot, only the second time in independent India’s history any government has scored a hat-trick in national elections.  

Luxon’s congratulatory message to Modi was quite specific. “I look forward to working with India’s Government to achieve a meaningful lift in New Zealand-India ties.”

Luxon has earlier expressed hopes he could visit New Delhi after the 2024 general elections in India.

“I am really looking forward to [it],” he said in December 2023 when asked about the prospects of him meeting his Indian counterpart. 

The prime minister was speaking at the 10th edition of The Indian Weekender’s Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Awards 2023 on December 8. 

“Well, as I said, I'm really looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Modi, and certainly wanting to build a stronger relationship with India. 

“It's a big, big focus and a big priority for my government and the foreign minister, the trade minister and myself. We want to get to India as quickly as we can.”

John Key was the last New Zealand prime minister to visit India, in 2016. Luxon said, “I want to go probably as soon as the elections are over in India next year. But it's one of my major priorities and so I really want to go as fast as I possibly can.”

In his 2023 election campaign, Luxon promised to visit India in his first year in office, a trip he believes will lay the foundations for reviving robust trade and diplomatic relations with the South Asian giant. 

Trade Minister Todd McClay has earlier said locking in a trade deal with India within three years was possible. “We’re going to put every single effort into it that we can,” he said.

“We just can’t afford to let New Zealand be left behind when it comes to…access and fair access to a market of 1.4 billion people whose…economy is growing so very, very quickly.”

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