Our relationship with South Asia

Our relations with South Asian countries are friendly and include a shared Commonwealth heritage, a love of cricket, and trade. Recognising India as one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world, the New Zealand Government has a strategy to strengthen our economic, political and security relationships with India. Due to Sir Edmund Hillary’s legacy we enjoy a special, continuing connection with Nepal. We enjoy positive relationships with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The potential for conflict between and within countries in the region is significant. Along with the potential for terrorism, there are implications for regional security. New Zealand works, often within multilateral groups, to promote security, peace, democracy, and respect for human rights in the wider region. We also work together to combat climate change.

Formal connections

New Zealand’s formal connections with South Asian countries include our work with international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and regional organisations such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). 


South Asia is an increasingly important trading destination for New Zealand. New Zealand is involved in negotiations toward a free trade agreement with India. New Zealand trade with Sri Lanka is growing while trade with other South Asian countries is relatively small. Exports are dominated by primary produce, while imported goods are largely made up of clothing and textiles.

Trade agreements

We're negotiating a free trade agreement with India

We're also negotiating a regional free trade agreement that includes India:


  • Commonwealth Scholarships are available for students from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
  • Bhutanese are eligible for scholarships through our New Zealand Aid Programme

Embassies and consular services

LocationService areas
India, New Delhi Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka
Iran, Tehran

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