New Zealand Deputy PM meets top Gujarat leadership, visits Swaminarayan Akshardham

Ahmedabad, March 11 (IANS) Maritime security, political and commercial ties, and several other areas of cooperation were discussed as New Zealand’s visiting Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, on Monday called on the top leadership in Gujarat, including Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel.

Peters, who is also the foreign minister of New Zealand, is on an official visit to India from March 10-13 at the invitation of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, and the two leaders will meet on March 12 to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral ties.

A post on Peters’ X handle said he was “pleased” to call on Patel and the two leaders discussed cooperation in sectors like education, infrastructure, and agro-technology.

“They discussed shared maritime security & economic interests as well as building cooperation b/w Gujarat & New Zealand, e.g. in education, investment, infrastructure and agro-technology.”

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

The minister also met Shankar Chaudhary, Speaker of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, as well as other state legislators and business leaders to discuss political and commercial ties between Gujarat and New Zealand.

Earlier today, he was welcomed with garlands and received a warm reception at the Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar.

Peters is visiting Ahmedabad and New Delhi for the first time after the new government in New Zealand assumed office in November 2023.

He had earlier visited India as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in February 2020.

Before his departure, Peters had said that New Zealand is determined to build a “broader, deeper, mutually beneficial relationship” with India.

“India is a country with which New Zealand can, should, and will be doing more. New Zealand recognises the global and regional leadership role that India plays, and we are determined to build a broader, deeper, mutually beneficial relationship,” Peters said in a statement last week.

India and New Zealand share warm and friendly relations based on commonalities of democratic traditions and shared values bolstered by strong people-to-people ties.

The two countries are engaging in cooperation across a wide range of areas, including trade and economy, defence and security, education and research, and environment and climate change, according to a Ministry of External Affairs release.



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