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Winston Peters Wraps Up India Trip Packed With Cricket, Spirituality, Relation-Building

New Zealand Deputy PM Winston Peters with India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is hoping relations between New Delhi and Wellington will enter a “new phase” after his visit to India this week.

On March 13, Peters concluded a four-day trip to India in which he travelled to the western Indian state of Gujarat and the national capital of New Delhi.

“We have laid a strong foundation for the coalition government’s priority of enhancing New Zealand-India relations to generate significant future benefit for both countries,” said Peters, who is also the minister for foreign affairs. 

Peters is the second high-ranking politician to have visited India since the new National-led government took charge in December 2023, after a whirlwind tour by Trade Minister Todd McClay over the Christmas holidays.



The trip didn’t produce any clear outcomes, but then none were really expected. Trade experts have for long pushed New Zealand to revive relation-building with the South Asian giant after years of Labour government trying too hard–and failing–to squeeze out a commercial deal. 

Instead Peters seemingly tried to build a narrative of camaraderie, hitting the right notes. Among those he met during the visit were India’s Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.

In Gujarat, Peters visited the Akshardham temple.

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He also threw in a bit of cricket in the mix. Peters also gifted Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel a bat signed by Kane Williamson, captain of the New Zealand cricket team (Black Caps), who also plays IPL for the Gujarat Titans.


In Delhi, Peters attended a Women’s Premier League match in which two White Ferns players, Sophie Devine and Amelia Kerr, were playing.


He also went to the new Parliament building in New Delhi, in which about 20,000 kg of New Zealand wool was used to make the carpet. 

“This is about establishing relationships of trust, not just in Delhi, but around India, and so we are totally broadening our scope and [making] new connections,“ The Post quoted Peters as saying.

Beyond optics, the trip provided an opportunity to discuss bilateral trade and economic ties, and Peters pointed out “New Zealand is determined to become more of a part of this success story”.

“Across a range of sectors-from education to agro-technology and from air connectivity to tourism-we could and should be doing more together in trade and economic terms. It is up to our governments to lay the foundation for this enhanced trade and economic engagement.

“We were privileged to meet Indian business leaders in New Delhi and Gujarat, and it is clear from our discussions that there is much potential to be tapped via an enhanced economic partnership.”

During the visit, an enhanced Air Services Agreement between the two countries came into force-making code sharing on services between New Zealand and India easier.

“While it is ultimately a commercial decision for our national carriers, we are confident that direct flights between New Zealand and India are within sight in the next couple of years,” Peters said.

“Being able to fly directly from Auckland to New Delhi would be a game-changer for the cultural, people-to-people and commercial ties between our countries.”

Jaishankar described his meeting with Peters as “productive”, saying the two discussed cooperation in Commonwealth and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reformsa among other things.

“Warm and productive meeting with DPM and FM @winstonpeters of New Zealand this evening. Agreed on enhancing our political, trade & economic, security, connectivity, mobility, education and people to people ties,” Jaishankar posted on X, formerly Twitter.

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