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India’s importance to New Zealand is growing. This reflects India’s expanding economy which has emerged strongly from the global recession, its growing geopolitical importance, and its increased openness to the rest of the world.
India is a priority relationship for New Zealand and our most developed relationship in South Asia. The New Zealand Government is implementing an inter-agency NZ Inc India strategy that is working towards India being a core trade, economic and political partner for New Zealand by 2015.
Prime Minister John Key paid a state visit to New Delhi and Mumbai in June 2011. Prime Minister Key was accompanied by Minister of Trade Hon Tim Groser, MP Mr Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and a high level business delegation. During the visit the Prime Minister announced bilateral co-operation arrangements in film, education, and science and innovation, and the appointment of a New Zealand Defence Adviser for India. The Joint Statement of Prime Ministers John Key and Manmohan Singh on the state visit can be found here.
New Zealand and India share a common heritage reflected in important features such as democracy, Commonwealth ties, similar legal systems and the use of the English language. There is a New Zealand-Indian community which dates back to the 1890s or earlier. New Zealand and India share membership of key Asia-Pacific regional organisations such as the East Asia Summit. Our two peoples also have a shared admiration for the late Sir Edmund Hillary and a mutual fondness for cricket.
New Zealand’s relationship with India is expanding rapidly. This is most noticeable in the increasing tempo of two-way high level visits (full list below), the growing trade relationship and the negotiations (started in April 2010) towards a bilateral free trade agreement. In May 2010 New Zealand opened a Consulate-General in Mumbai, India’s business and financial capital.
India’s strong economic growth has sparked the expansion of bilateral trade and economic links. There is potential for growth in both goods and services – agriculture products, tourism, education, and consultancy services. New Zealand’s growing Indian community (2006 census: 104,588) and India’s outreach to its diaspora have also strengthened people-to-people ties.
There are a number of bilateral treaties in force between New Zealand and India - the earliest of which date from 1963 - covering a range of areas, including air services, double taxation and wool purchasing. In addition, there are bilateral arrangements on agriculture, plant quarantine, information technology, education, film, and science and technology.
New Zealand is developing defence links with India. Both countries are members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Plus Meeting. Then Minister of Defence, Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, visited New Delhi in April 2011. A delegation from the Indian National Defence College visited New Zealand in May 2011. The former Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force (now Governor-General), Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, visited India in November 2009 (the first such visit) to explore ways to expand the defence relationship. A New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College delegation also visited at the same time.
Naval links are growing with fairly frequent ship visits. The Chief of the Indian Navy, Admiral Nirmal Verma, visited New Zealand in November 2010. HMNZS Te Mana visited Port Blair in the Andaman Islands in June 2011; HMNZS Te Mana visited Mumbai in August 2008; HMNZS Te Mana and Endeavour visited Port Blair in the Andaman Islands in May 2007; HMNZS Te Mana visited Kochi and Mumbai ports in June 2006; and the Indian ship Tabar visited Auckland in 2006.
The NZ Inc India Strategy is the first of a series of all-of-government strategies aimed to set priorities and coordinate relations with key offshore partners. The Strategy articulates a clear vision that India should be a core trade, economic and political partner for New Zealand by 2015. The Strategy has six broad goals:
The NZ Inc India Strategy was launched by Prime Minister John Key on 20 October 2011 at The Cloud, Auckland. More information on the NZ Inc India Strategy is here, including NZ Inc’s ‘Opening Doors in India’ publication.
Multilateral engagement between New Zealand and India occurs in the United Nations, Commonwealth, the World Trade Organisation and other forums. India's "Look East" policy, and participation in regional institutions such as the East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), have led to increasing interaction between New Zealand and India. India’s interest extends to the Pacific Island states and in 2003 it became a dialogue partner of the Pacific Islands Forum. An Indian Ministerial delegation attended the most recent Pacific Islands Forum’s post-Forum Dialogue held in Auckland in October 2011.
Our common membership of regional and multilateral forums provides a platform for regular dialogue on key issues such as climate change and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, international trade, United Nations reform, human rights, counter-terrorism and other transnational issues.
New Zealand and India began talks on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA, or Closer Economic Cooperation Agreement – CECA) in April 2010 following the announcement in January 2010 by the New Zealand and Indian Trade Ministers to begin these negotiations. New Zealand hosted the seventh round of the negotiations in January 2012, a report is here.
A joint feasibility study, carried out in 2009, had concluded that the two economies were largely complementary and a FTA would deliver an outcome of genuine mutual benefit. FTA negotiations are currently underway.
Delivery of a high quality trade agreement will raise the profile of New Zealand businesses in India and increase understanding of the Indian market. An FTA would facilitate connections and act as a catalyst for trade promotion, as well as underpin stronger cooperation in important areas (eg sanitary and phytosanitary issues).
For more details see the Ministry’s New Zealand-India FTA page
India is currently New Zealand’s 7th largest market.
Two-way goods trade between New Zealand and India is valued at over NZ$1.302 billion for the year ending March 2012, up from NZ$991.1 million two years ago.
Exports were worth NZ$931.1 million for the year ending March 2012, up from NZ$651.6 million two years ago.
Imports from India were valued at NZ$371.4 million for the year ending March 2012.
The main New Zealand export items to India are primary commodities (see ‘Key Facts’ section below for trade statistics). Coal exports have led the increase in trade with India in recent years. Dairy products, apples and machinery have recently become significant trade items. Log exports and wood pulp continue to strengthen, along with hides and skins used in the manufacture of leather goods. Wool, as an input into Indian carpet manufacturing, has traditionally been an important export to India but is stagnating. There is the potential to diversify experts through the free trade agreement currently under negotiation (see above), which aims not only to eliminate tariffs but address a range of non-tariff barriers.
There has been steady growth in our services trade with India, most notably in tourism and education (see below). Opportunities for growth in other services sectors and in investment include professional and business services, environmental services, engineering and construction services, and services incidental to agriculture and forestry.
India’s average tariff overall is 12.9% but this varies markedly across sectors. High tariffs on items of interest to New Zealand, particularly agricultural and value-added products, continue to restrict our exports. In recent years, however, India’s average applied tariff rate has reduced in line with its tariff policy and WTO commitments. India’s non-tariff barriers, particularly sanitary and phytosanitary (quarantine) barriers, continue to constrain exports to India.
New Zealand and Indian officials meet to discuss bilateral trade policy and access issues, including during joint trade committee (JTC) meetings which were established under the earlier New Zealand/India Trade Agreement signed during the visit of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to New Zealand in October 1986. The India-New Zealand Business Council is the preeminent New Zealand business group engaging with India.
India is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing education markets, now our third largest (after China and South Korea).
There were 12,358 international fee-paying students from India in New Zealand in 2011, up from 6,348 in 2008. (For more detailed information, see the statistics section of the Education Counts website). Most Indian students are enrolled in private training institutes (63%) and polytechnics (26%), with a small proportion in universities (11%).
Prime Ministers John Key and Manmohan Singh announced the establishment of a new Education Cooperation Initiative during Prime Minister Key’s state visit to India in June 2011. This jointly-funded Initiative, worth NZ$1 million annually, will promote partnerships in two key streams: higher education and research, and skills and vocational training. The Initiative also includes sports scholarships, business scholarships and provides opportunities to share expertise and experience in indigenous higher education. A Joint Education Council will be established to implement the Prime Ministers’ Initiative.
India’s Minister of Human Resources Development (with responsibility for both the education and tertiary education portfolios), Hon Kapil Sibal, visited New Zealand in April 2010. The New Zealand-India Education Cooperation Arrangement, first signed in 2005, was renewed during his visit. The Arrangement is a broad framework for bilateral cooperation on education. Most recently, a group of five Indian Vice-Chancellors visited New Zealand in February 2012. The objectives of the visit were to learn more about New Zealand’s tertiary education system, indigenous education, and explore opportunities for collaboration with New Zealand universities and Wananga. The delegation visited all 8 New Zealand universities and Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane.
India is a market of potential for New Zealand’s science and innovation sector, especially in the areas of food science and information and communications innovation.
The then Minister for Science and Innovation, Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, visited India in April 2011 to explore ways of deepening New Zealand’s science and innovation engagement with India. The New Zealand/India Science and Technology Arrangement was signed during Prime Minister John Key’s state visit to India in June 2011. The Protocol provides a framework for scientific exchanges and research collaboration. The Royal Society of New Zealand hosted a delegation of Indian researchers as part of the inaugural New Zealand/India Food Science Workshop at Riddet Institute, Palmerston North, and Lincoln University in June 2011. The Ministry of Science and Innovation led a delegation of New Zealand researchers for a return science workshop and officials’ talks in May 2012. Riddet Institute and Lincoln University have joint research projects with some Indian institutions in food science.
Over 28,000 Indians visited New Zealand in the year to December 2011, up from 16,000 in 2004. Indian visitors prefer to come during their summer (April to June), making them an important source of visitors for New Zealand's autumn shoulder season.
The Bollywood connection, especially in Queenstown, has been instrumental in stimulating tourism and links with New Zealand’s film production industry. This partnership was illustrated by the 2010 release of I Hate Luv Stories, which was filmed partly in Queenstown, and the 2012 release of Players, filmed in part in Auckland and Wellington.
The New Zealand/India Audio and Visual Co-Productions Agreement was signed during Prime Minister John Key’s State Visit to India in June 2011. The Agreement encourages more cooperation between the New Zealand and Indian film industries and, it is hoped, greater tourism flows from India.
There is no direct air link between India and New Zealand. The majority of travellers transit through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. A bilateral Air Services Agreement was signed in 2006 (and updated in 2008), which provides for direct aircraft services to take place between Mumbai and Auckland. Additionally, New Zealand carriers can code-share to five Indian cities (Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata) and Indian carriers can code-share to five New Zealand cities (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin). These code share services can also be via Australia, Singapore, or Hong Kong.
There is a vibrant Indian community of over 100,000 in New Zealand (2006 census), around 2.5% of the population (see also the Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand pages on Indians in New Zealand. New Zealanders of Indian origin are prominent in many sectors: public life (Governor General and MPs), business, medicine, education, sports and the arts. The community is spread throughout New Zealand, with the largest group in Auckland.
The Indian Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs regularly visits New Zealand and keeps in touch with the Indian community here.
New Zealand and India are cricketing nations and our teams play each other frequently at international events and tour each others’ countries. India hosted most of the matches for the Cricket World Cup in 2011. The New Zealand Black Caps toured India in November/December 2010. In recent years a number of New Zealand cricket players have been members of teams in the high profile Indian Premier League (IPL).
Some 200 New Zealand athletes competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games hosted by India in New Delhi, 3-14 October. These Games saw India give its best performance at a major international sporting event, winning the second highest tally of medals (101). New Zealand competed with distinction, winning 36 medals. The former Governor-General, Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, visited India during the Commonwealth Games to represent the New Zealand Government and lend support to the New Zealand Team.
Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, is one of the largest festive events in New Zealand’s cultural calendar. Annual Diwali festivals are held in Auckland and Wellington. The Asia New Zealand Foundation and community groups have made these occasions highly successful with all New Zealanders.
The New Zealand International Festival of the Arts has featured Indian artists. In recent years there have been Indian entries in the World of Wearable Art show in Wellington, culminating in an Indian entry winning the supreme design award in 2010. In conjunction with the Fashion Design Council of India, the New Zealand High Commission in New Delhi hosts an increasingly popular annual World of Wearable Art event.
In May 2003, as part of India’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the ascent of Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary was honoured by the Indian government. A plaque was presented to Sir Ed by then Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and two roads in front of the New Zealand High Commission were named after Sir Ed and Tenzing Norgay. In January 2008 Sir Ed was posthumously awarded the “Padma Vibhushan”, one of India’s highest civilian honours.
While New Zealand does not have a dedicated assistance programme for India, in 2008/2009 New Zealand provided NZ$3.18 million of funding for NGOs and relief agencies working in India under the Kaihono hei Oranga o te Ao/ Partnerships for International Community Development (KOHA-PICD) and Humanitarian Action Fund (HAF) (these funds are no longer active). Opportunities remain for New Zealand NGOs to apply for funding from the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF), which emphasises economic development initiatives.
Prime Minister John Key visited India in June 2011. Prior to that, Prime Ministerial visits occurred in 2004 (Rt Hon Helen Clark) and 1986 (PM Rajiv Gandhi). In February 2010 Rahul Gandhi MP, Rajiv Gandhi’s son, visited New Zealand as the inaugural Sir Edmund Hillary Fellow.
Land Area: 3.3 million sq km
Population: 1.21 billion (2011 estimate, Provisional Indian Census figures)
Capital City: New Delhi
Religion: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, others 1.8%
Official Language: Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the population. There are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi and Sanskrit. English is widespread in business circles and as a second language.
Currency: Rupees (Rs).
Political system: India is a constitutional democracy with a bicameral legislature. India is a union of 28 states, each with their own legislature and state government. In addition, India has 7 Union Territories. At the centre, the Indian system is modelled on the Westminster system. The lower house is elected by universal adult suffrage. The President of India is the Head of the Union, but acts in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. In the states, the Governor is Head of the Executive, but it is the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister in whom real executive power vests.
National government: United Progressive Alliance (dominant party: Indian National Congress).
National legislature: Bicameral legislature with 245 members in the Rajya Sabha or the upper house and 545 members in the Lok Sabha or the lower house.
Last election: May 2009
Next election due: by May 2014
Head of State: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil
Head of Government: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Minister of Finance:P Chidambaram
Minister of Home Affairs: Sushilkumar Shinde
Minister of Defence: A K Antony
Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution: Sharad Pawar
Minister of Law and Justice: Ashwani Kumar
Minister of External Affairs: Salman Khurshid
Minister of Steel: Beni Prasad Verma
Minister of Rural Development: Jairam Ramesh
Minister of Health and Family Welfare: Ghulam Nabi Azad
Minister of Railways: Pawan Kumar Bansal
Minister of New and Renewable Energy: Farooq Abdullah
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas: Veerappa Moily
Minister of Urban Development: Kamal Nath
Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs: Vayalar Ravi
Minister of Human Resource Development: M M Pallam Raju
Minister of Information and Communications Technology: Kapil Sibal
Minister of Commerce,Industry and Textiles: Anand Sharma
Minister of Civil Aviation: Ajit Singh
Main political parties:
Indian National Congress (Congress); Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); All India Trinamool Congress (TMC); Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK); Samajwadi Party (SP); Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD); Janata Dal (United); Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP); All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK); Bijou Janata Dal (BJD); Nationalist Congress Party (NCP); Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI (M)
Nominal GDP: US$1,673 billion (2010 actual, EIU)
GDP breakdown (2008, World Bank):
GDP Per Capita:US$1,673 (2010 actual, EIU)
GDP Per Capita (PPP): US$3,481 (2010 estimate, EIU)
Real GDP Growth:9.6% (2010 actual, EIU)
Exports FOB:– US$299,386 million (2011 actual, EIU)
Imports: US$461,396 million (2010 actual, EIU)
Main merchandise exports: Engineering products, petroleum products, textiles and textile products, gems and jewellery.
Exchange rate: Rs 46 = US$1 (2010 average, EIU)
Consumer inflation: 8.9% (2011 actual, EIU)
Gross external debt: US$$290,282 million (2010 actual, EIU)
Budget balance (% of GDP): 5.0% (2010 forecast, EIU)
New Zealand/India bilateral trade figures are available online from Statistics New Zealand [external link].
Source: Statistics NZ (for the 12 months to June 2011).
New Zealand Exports
Coal - NZ$435.4m (47.0%)
New Zealand Imports
Medicines - NZ$51.2m (13.8%)
The Safetravel [external link] website provides a travel advisory for travellers to India.