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Key talks business in India, but few specifics


Formal talks begin in Delhi. NZ is to appoint a defence advisor to India, but there are few other concrete developments so far.

NZPA and NBR staff
Wed, 29 Jun 2011

The business end of Prime Minister John Key’s visit to India got under way yesterday when he held formal talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

After an official welcome at the Presidential Palace in the capital, the pair met at Hyderbad House in the evening for formal discussions, which canvassed a wide range of areas, including trade, education and defence.

Following the meeting, Mr Singh described the relationship with New Zealand as “warm, cordial and friendly”.

“We share many common values, in particular our commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law," he said.

"These make us natural partners in working with each other and in meeting global challenges.

“Given the goodwill that exists in our countries for each other, I am confident that the India-New Zealand relationship is poised for all-round expansion in the years ahead.”

Both prime ministers welcomed increased trade between the two countries, and reiterated their commitment to an early conclusion of a free trade agreement, which is slated to be completed by the end of March next year.

They also committed to strengthening defence ties, with Mr Key announcing that New Zealand would appoint a defence adviser to India.

Following the talks, the two prime ministers witnessed the signing of two cooperative deals, one to extend the relationship between the countries’ film sectors, and another to promote a bilateral partnership in education.

The talks were followed by a state banquet, at which kind words between the countries continued to flow.

Mr Singh toasted New Zealand, and spoke about the countries’ warm relationship and growing ties.

Mr Key returned the toast, wishing the best for India’s growth and success.

The guest list for the dinner stretched across a wide range of sectors, with political, business, media and sporting representatives, including Indian cricket legend Bishan Bedi, among those in attendance.

Anyone looking for a stiff drink following the formal talks was out of luck -- Indian protocol does not allow alcohol to be served at any event hosted by a minister -– and guests instead raised glasses of fruit juice to toast each country.

NZPA and NBR staff
Wed, 29 Jun 2011
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Key talks business in India, but few specifics
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