Auckland [New Zealand], October 6 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is on a visit to New Zealand, Thursday participated at the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Awards 2022 and the New Zealand launch of the book "Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery."
Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Awards is organized to celebrate the finest Kiwi-Indian achievers and trailblazers.
Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar wrote, "Delighted to participate at the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Awards 2022 and the New Zealand launch of Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery. Value the presence of PM Jacinda Ardern and her cabinet colleagues and MPs at the event."
Jaishankar has authored one of the chapters of the book Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery which was launched on May 11, 2022.
In addition to his recollections, the EAM also shared the contributions of fellow contributors -- Lata Mangeshkar, Home Minister Amit Shah, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, Executive Vice Chairperson- Apollo Hospitals Group Shobana Kamineni, CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank Uday Kotak, author Sudha Murty, Chairman & CEO India Inc. Group Prof Manoj Ladwa, Bharat Barai, Anupam P Kher and author and director Amish Tripathi.
Jaishankar was given a traditional Maori welcome as he kicked off his official engagements in New Zealand and praised the respect both countries display for each other's culture and traditions.
"Was honoured to start my official engagements earlier today in New Zealand with a traditional Maori welcome. Deeply appreciate the symbolism of the convening of two energies together. The respect for customs and traditions is such an important aspect of our friendship," he added.
External Affairs Minister noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspired him for 20 years in office and said that he looks forwards to many more still to come. "The energy in the room today reiterated this faith shared by so many across the world," he noted.
Jaishankar also held a meeting with New Zealand's Leader of Opposition Christopher Luxon and added that the interest of the leader in developing ties with India was manifested. "Our relationship will advance with broad-based support and mutual efforts."
On Thursday, he held a meeting with his New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta and discussed several key issues including trade agreement, visa issues and enhancement of people-to-people ties.
Addressing a joint press conference with New Zealand foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta, Jaishankar said, "A large part of our conversation went to strengthening our bilateral relationship."
He said both countries should play to each other strengths and work on areas like business, technology, digital, education, talent and agriculture. "And most of all people-to-people ties, because that is at the heart of both of our societies."
Jaishankar said he took up visa issues being faced by Indian students due to Covid-19 measures imposed by the country. The minister said he also requested expeditious visa processing for Indian students who desire to study in New Zealand.
"I asked for the minister's consideration for students who had to go back during the covid period. I urged the situation be treated sympathetically and with fairness," he added.
Answering questions on the ongoing progress of the free trade agreement between the two sides, the minister said the best way of pursuing economic opportunities right now is to encourage more business collaborations.
In one of his tweets, the external affairs minister said he also appreciated the exchange of views on international concerns such as the Indo-Pacific and the Ukraine conflict. He also said India values its working relationship with New Zealand in multilateral forums including the UN and Commonwealth.
This ongoing visit is Jaishankar's first trip to New Zealand. A day earlier, the EAM had met with the first Indian-origin Minister of New Zealand Priyanca Radhakrishnan.
"Good to meet Minister @priyancanzlp today in Auckland. Thank her for an interactive session with prominent personalities of New Zealand. Committed to furthering our relationship," Jaishankar said in an earlier tweet.
After finishing his New Zealand visit, EAM will be visiting Canberra and Sydney. It will be EAM's second visit to Australia this year, the first being in February 2022 to attend the Quad Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Melbourne.
Jaishankar will also be meeting Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Richard Marles. (ANI)