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Goff Off To India And Singapore

Phil Goff leaves today on what will be the first visit by a New Zealand Foreign Minister to India in almost nine years.

During his trip Mr Goff will be meeting with leading political and business figures in India looking to build on the diplomatic and economic links between the two countries. The Minister's visit follows on from the trip to India last year by Trade Minister Jim Sutton.

"New Zealand and India have strong historical links with a shared heritage of parliamentary democracy, Commonwealth and sporting ties. My visit is aimed at heightening New Zealand's profile and creating an awareness among key policy makers of what this country can offer.

"I will also be exchanging views on regional and international issues and explain New Zealand's policy positions," Mr Goff said.

The Minister will visit Bhuj in the earthquake-hit province of Gujarat to assess the extent of the damage caused by the disaster and identify if there are further ways in which New Zealand can assist with recovery efforts.

"The disaster was one of the worst ever to hit India and our Government responded with a contribution of $500,000. During my visit I will look at what technical assistance our country can provide as New Zealand has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the area of earthquakes," Mr Goff said.

The Minister will visit Singapore en route to India, taking the opportunity to reinforce the very close linkages New Zealand enjoys with that country.

"The Closer Economic Partnership relationship entered into by the two nations is one of the most comprehensive free trade agreements ever negotiated. My visit will be part of the process of working towards the full implementation of the agreement.

"I will also be discussing other key elements of the bilateral relationship including defence cooperation, UN and Commonwealth issues," said Mr Goff.


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