February 8, 2023 6:29 am

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India-New Zealand Bilateral Relations On a New High After Mobility Agreement

India-New Zealand anxiously awaits a mobility agreement between the two nations even as India’s Union External Affairs Minister very recently has expressed keenness towards inking such an agreement in the larger interests of the young population. 

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India-New Zealand anxiously awaits a mobility agreement between the two nations even as India’s Union External Affairs Minister very recently has expressed keenness towards inking such an agreement in large interests of the young population. 

Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is on his maiden visit to New Zealand from October 5 to 11. So far he has met various dignitaries and made some important bilateral decisions. From participating in the launch of Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery, to commemorating the Gallipoli campaign by visiting the Te Papa museum exhibition in Wellington, to further inaugurating the new Indian High Commission Chancery in Wellington, Union External Affairs Minister is working to strengthen cultural and diplomatic relations between the two nations.

During his interaction with the Indian community at the inauguration ceremony of the Indian High Commission Chancery in Wellington, Jaishankar proposed to ink an important mobility agreement with New Zealand. This will open a new sphere to the bilateral relations between the two nations. 

What is a mobility agreement?

A mobility agreement guarantees the easy facilitation of the movement of students, academics, and researchers between the two countries. According to Jaishankar, “Mobility partnership is the most important way of promoting business and is the foundation of our relationship in the next stage.”

Jaishankar urged the Jacinda Arden-led New Zealand government to take a sympathetic approach towards the students travelling to and fro from New Zealand, who have taken fresh admission into academic institutions and have restarted their studies that were disrupted during the covid-19 pandemic.

India in the past has had similar student mobility and academic collaborations with the UK, France, and Portugal. 

What benefits will it guarantee to both nations?

India ranks second in terms of the number of foreign nationals that are enrolling in higher education in New Zealand across different streams of subjects such as science, engineering, information technology, hospitality, and architecture. 

With the mobility partnership in place, the entry procedures for students will be eased out. The citizens travelling to India and New Zealand both will obtain on-arrival visas. Some of them, who left New Zealand after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, will now have their visas renewed. 

By exchanging a pool of young students, both countries will promote globalized talent. This is a beneficial step to upgrade the overall economy of the two countries.   

This partnership will further strengthen cooperation in the digital economy, business relationships, and a better understanding of the aspiration of students.

Challenges So Far

Indian students in New Zealand have been facing difficulties since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. They also faced hardship in the on-arrival visa process. New Zealand had earlier restricted traveling to the country without a mandatory vaccine certificate, which has not been dropped and all travelers are now welcome to the country without testing or vaccine requirements. 

Jaishankar has however urged his counterpart Nanaia Mahuta to speed up the visa process for students who are waiting to come to the country for their students. 

Way Ahead

New Zealand has a strong Indian diaspora of approximately 2,50,000 persons, a vast majority of which have their permanent homes there. With a strengthened partnership in the mobility sector, both nations could utilize the talent of their younger generations. This partnership agreement will also see a positive impact on the businesses and economies of both nations.

Shreya Arora
Shreya Arora

Researcher | Content-Writer
~"Learn continually - there's always 'one more thing' to learn!"

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