Wed, Dec 7, 2016 | updated 07:57 PM IST

Prez to New Zealand PM: Can work together for freedom of navigation, countering terrorism

Updated: Oct 27, 2016 13:50 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct. 27 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee has said India and New Zealand can be partners in promoting security, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond, adding that the two countries can work together in areas such as maritime security, ensuring freedom of navigation and in countering terrorism.

Welcoming New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday, President Mukherjee said there exists a strong desire among the people of the two countries to improve relations.

President Mukherjee said India values its relationship with New Zealand and the sustained momentum of high level contacts reaffirms the growing strength and dynamism of bilateral engagement between the two nations.

"India and New Zealand share a unique bond based on shared values and synergies, being two multicultural, vibrant democracies that believe in and respect the rule of law," said the President.

"New Zealand could be a key partner in India's quest for food security. Bilateral trade in goods and services has nearly doubled in the last eight years. Currently, total trade in goods and services in 2015 amounted to US$ 1.45 billion," the President noted.

Reciprocating the President's sentiments, Prime Minister Key said, "His Government would like to grow and strengthen bilateral relations. There is a strong and growing Indian community in New Zealand, while the high level contacts between the two countries provide the foundation stone for a better understanding of each other's perceptions."

He thanked President Mukherjee for his visit to New Zealand earlier this year, saying India's economic growth provides many opportunities.

Prime Minister Key, accompanied by his wife Bronagh and a high level business and education delegation, arrived here on Tuesday for a three-day-long state visit. His arrival was delayed by a day after the aircraft carrying him and 80 other passengers broke down in Townsville. (ANI)