Presidential visit spells goodwill

Venkat Raman – 

The first ever visit of the Indian Head of State to New Zealand, marked by a series of speeches and events over the past three days, was demonstration of friendship and goodwill between the two countries, although there was no significant score on the political front.

Pranab Mukherjee received a warm welcome by Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-liga as an Air India charter flight landed at Auckland International Airport on the early hours of Saturday, April 30, 2016 and later by Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae with an inspection of Guard of Honour at the Government House.

Another Agreement

Prime Minister John Key held a separate bilateral meeting and witnessed the signing of a yet another Air Services Agreement on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at Langham Hotel, where the visiting President and his aides stayed.

Mr Mukherjee visited the Auckland War Memorial Museum on April 30. His final engagement is tomorrow (Monday, May 2, 2016) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) with Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce where a number of Indian students will be honoured with New Zealand Excellence Awards.

There was as usual lip service towards an ever-elusive Free Trade Agreement. Sir Jerry mentioned that New Zealand had ambitious goals to develop closer political and economic relations with India but stopped short of saying that the desire extended to ‘links in trade, investment, education, skilled migration and tourism.’

We will analyse the Presidential visit in detail in our next issue.

 

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