EAM Jaishankar holds talks with New Zealand counterpart on the conflict in Indo-Pacific, Ukraine

Auckland: Foreign Minister S Jaishankar held “warm and productive” talks with his New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta on Thursday, during which the two leaders exchanged views on international issues such as the Indo-Pacific and the conflict in Ukraine. It is Jaishankar’s first visit to New Zealand as foreign minister.

“Warm and productive talks with New Zealand’s Foreign Minister @NanaiaMahuta this afternoon. Two societies, respecting tradition and culture, are trying to forge a more contemporary relationship,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

“Value the exchange of views on (issues of) international affairs such as the Indo-Pacific conflict and the Ukraine conflict. Appreciate our cooperation in multilateral fora, including the UN and the Commonwealth,” he said.

India, the US and several other world powers have discussed the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific against the backdrop of China’s increasing military maneuvers in the resource-rich region.

China claims almost all of the disputed South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.

India has repeatedly stressed the need to immediately end hostilities in Ukraine and resolve the ongoing conflict through dialogue and diplomacy. Jaishankar also addressed the issue of Indian students affected by COVID measures in New Zealand and urged speedy visa processing for those now wishing to study in New Zealand.

India is the second largest source of international students in New Zealand pursuing higher education in various disciplines such as information technology, hospitality, science, engineering and architecture. He also met Associate Secretary of State Aupito William Sio during his meeting with Mahuta.

“Pleasant to meet the Secretary of State @AupitoWSio_MP during my conversations with FM Nanaia Mahuta. I have benefited from his insights on the Pacific Islands,” Jaishankar tweeted.

On Wednesday, Jaishankar met with Indian minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan, and also had an interactive session with prominent personalities of the country.

“Good to meet Minister @priyancanzlp in Auckland today. Thank her for an interactive session with prominent New Zealand personalities. Committed to furthering our relationship,” he tweeted.

Radhakrishnan is the New Zealand Minister for Community and Voluntary Sector, Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, and Youth. She is the first person of Indian descent to become a minister in New Zealand. New Zealand has approximately 2,50,000 individuals of Indian descent and NRIs, the vast majority of whom have made the country their permanent home.

During the visit, Jaishankar and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will congratulate members of the Indian community on Thursday. For their exceptional achievements and contributions.

“Both leaders will release India@75 stamps to commemorate and raise awareness of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav in New Zealand,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday. Jaishankar will also launch the book ‘Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery’.

On this occasion, a book will also be released showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special bond with the Sikh community ‘Heartfelt- The Legacy of Faith’.

Furthermore, he will interact with parliamentarians, members of the business community and the Indian diaspora, including students. In Wellington, Jaishankar will inaugurate the newly constructed High Commission of India building. Jaishankar is on a week-long visit to New Zealand and Australia. In Australia, the Foreign Secretary will visit Canberra and Sydney.

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