26 October 2016 at 9:00 am

Asia NZ report highlights 'huge scope' for NZ ties with India

A report issued this month by the Asia New Zealand Foundation says there are vast untapped opportunities in tourism and trade including education between New Zealand and India.

The report – India and New Zealand: Growing our connectivity – was written by Graeme Waters, a former high commissioner to India, and highlights the way New Zealand’s cultural landscape is being enriched by our growing ties with India.

Mr Waters said he was impressed how dynamic the Indian community in New Zealand was, and how it continued to grow.

In talking about education, Mr Waters said that recent issues with the Indian student market meant New Zealand authorities needed to deal firmly with students and agents who breached standards, but longer term the "answer seems simple - quality not quantity".

"The growth in the number of Indian students has been impressive, but it is now in both countries' interest to focus higher up the education value chain."

Among the individuals profiled in the report were Indian twin sisters Tashi and Nungshi Malik, who are studying sport and exercise at Southland Institute of Technology. Both sisters are accomplished outdoor adventurers including having climbed Mt Everest.

Mr Waters argued for better airline connections between India and New Zealand, which would bring more tourists and open the door to better trade connections.

He made the point that New Zealand's trade with India was only about 10 percent of our trade with China.

“It's a bit humbling to look at the stats compared to China and to realise that we're only operating at about a tenth of the level we do with China, so huge scope for advancement and lots of cultural advantages in doing so," he told Radio New Zealand.

Along with the main report, Mr Waters has also written India and New Zealand: The Ties that Bind Us, which looks at the historic relationship between the two countries.

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