India@72 – Historic I-Day event marks NZ India relations
New Zealand Indian businesses celebrated Indian Independence Day by hosting a glittering, exclusive gala dinner at the five-star Naumi Hotel in Auckland on August 15, a first for New Zealand.
India@72, organised by the New Zealand India Trade Alliance (NZITA), was attended by prominent members of the diplomatic corps, Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, top business associations and leaders of various Indian groups.
NZITA Secretary General Sunil Kaushal said; “This is a historic first for New Zealand as we wanted to commemorate Independence Day with the business community”.
“We wanted to reach out and engage with the wider importers and exporters. Many local events are held by the various Indian associations but this is the first time we engaged with the diplomatic corps, Politicians and Kiwi businesses.”
The event began with the singing of the Indian national anthem followed by a brief address by NZITA Chairman and prominent businessman Giri Gupta. Mr Gupta encouraged the NZ companies to take advantage of the various initiatives of the Modi government, like Make in India, Swatch Bharat and others. He said that New Zealand companies have a particular opportunity to contribute through their IP, and sought-after kiwi technology.
Mr Gupta said the New Zealand India Trade Alliance is achieving real trade results for its members: “There are huge opportunities in India if companies take the time and choose the right partners – India is a very difficult market to navigate if you do not have the right connections or market knowledge. We have recently launched our India Chapter which will provide our members valuable assistance on the ground”.
Deputy Leader of the opposition National Party and former Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Paula Bennett said that the rich Indian culture and business connections are enriching the Kiwi way of life in trade, education, culture, tourism and blended families. She ended with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “Complete independence will be complete only to the extent of our approach in practice to truth and nonviolence”.
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Children and Seniors the Hon Tracey Martin said: “As the Minister of Seniors I realised that I was coming to an event for someone who was 72.” Martin congratulated the diaspora and said that as Associates Minister of Education she is keen to see Hindi being added to the school curriculum since India was an enormous market and Kiwis needed to understand the country better.
NZITA Co-Deputy Chairman and former governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Dr Don Brash gave insights into the NZ India economic relations. He recalled meeting a young Indian man in Washington in 1968, with whom he became good friends. Thirty years later that man, Bimal Jalan, became the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
“India has made extraordinary progress and will soon become the third largest economy in the world,” said Dr Brash. “Its economy is growing at seven per cent per annum, it has a low rate of inflation at four per cent and a fiscal deficit of three percent. That is extraordinary.” Dr Brash also indicated that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon announce the largest health care insurance scheme in the world that will benefit 500 million people.
The event was attended by the honorary consuls from 11 different countries and was supported by the presidents of various Indian Associations including Waitakere Indian, Indian Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Indian Central Association, Bihar Jharkhand NZ, Uttarakhand NZ, Haryanavis NZ, Punjabi, Auckland Tamil Sangam, Malayali Samajam, Telangana Association, Telugu Association, Gujarati Samaj and the Chinmaya Mission.
New Zealand India Trade Alliance (NZITA) is an invitation-only organisation working with stakeholders to establish, build and promote trade, investment, sporting and cultural links between New Zealand and India. NZITA board is represented by Industry leaders with vast experience in business, finance, governance, cross border relations, advocacy, trade and international relations.
leaders endorsed the initiative of NZITA to bring together
Kiwi exporters together for the first time ever in New
Zealand and showcase the positive initiatives of the Modi
government and the opportunities available for NZ