India, New Zealand sign Air Services Agreement
NEW DELHI: India and New Zealand today signed a landmark Air Services Agreement paving the way for introduction of direct flights between the two countries.
The agreement was signed by Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmer Welfare, Dr Sanjeev Baliyan on behalf of India and Transport Minister of New Zealand Simon Bridges in the presence of the President Mr Pranab Mukherjee and the New Zealand Prime Minister Mr John Key.
AIR correspondent reports, Business, Education and Tourism have grown exponentially between India and New Zealand in the recent years. There are nearly 1,75,000 persons of Indian origin in New Zealand of which about 15,000 are Indian students.
The two-way trade between the two countries has doubled in the last few years. The two-way tourist traffic has also witnessed sharp rise, partly due to the exotic and pristine locales of New Zealand shown in Indian movies.
President Mukherjee said the agreement will lead to easier connectivity that has inhibited both business travel and people- to- people contact in the past. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key also held talks with Mr Mukherjee.
Briefing newspersons, Secretary East in the Ministry of External Affairs Preeti Saran said both sides agreed to expedite negotiations for an early conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement. President Mukherjee also addressed a large gathering of Business Leaders today.
He said despite sluggishness in World Economy, India is progressing at a healthy 7.2% rate of growth and it will certainly be better in coming years. He said India is offering many business and investment opportunities through a number of programmes evolved by the government including Make in India & Skill Development.
Talking about democracy and parliamentary system, he said, dissent is an important component of it and that without dissent, parliamentary system will become dysfunctional. The President addressed the Indian Community later in the evening. Tomorrow, Mr Mukherjee is scheduled to visit the Auckland University of Technology before returning home.