ICWA hosted the 5th Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA)-Asia-New Zealand Foundation (ANZF) and New Zealand India Research Institute (NZIRI) Track II Dialogue on 27 April 2022. The Dialogue was held virtually. The inaugural session had Heads of Delegations from both the sides deliver remarks. Amb Vijay Thakur Singh, Director General, ICWA highlighted the changes underway in regional and global geopolitical environment, with the Indo-Pacific region particularly witnessing increasing strategic competition. She emphasized that India and New Zealand share many positives to further build close ties. Prof David Capie, Director New Zealand India Research Institute, Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington also highlighted that we are witnessing times of extraordinary and significant change. India and New Zealand, as democracies with deep and abiding interest in international law, should work together.
The first session of the Dialogue focused on ‘Changing Global and Regional Geopolitical Scenarios’. The session was chaired by Amb Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Studies Programme, Gateway House, Mumbai. Panelists included Dr Manjeet Pardesi, Senior Lecturer in the Political Science and International Relations Programme, Victoria University, Wellington and Prof Sanjay Chaturvedi, Chairperson, Department of International Relations South Asian University, New Delhi. Mr. Andrew Wilford, China Research Centre Coordinator at Victoria University, Wellington was the lead discussant for the session. Discussion focused around the crisis in Ukraine, US-China contestations in the Indo-Pacific region and perspectives of India and New Zealand on current geopolitical developments. It was highlighted that the war in Ukraine had diverted limelight to Europe. Indo-Pacific should be seen as a combination of maritime and continental strategic space. New Zealand sees India’s role growing in the Indo-Pacific region and in the future international order.
The second session was on India-New Zealand Bilateral Relations – Way Forward. The session was chaired by Prof. Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Emeritus Professor of History, Victoria University of Wellington. Panelists Dr Pragya Pandey, Research Fellow, ICWA and Ms Suzannah Jessep, Director (Research and Engagement), ANZF, highlighted issues and areas of common interest and concern for the two countries for furthering their close bilateral relationship. Dr Rahul Mishra, Former Research Fellow, ICWA was the lead discussant for the session. It was noted that New Zealand is developing a more holistic approach to its relations with India looking beyond trade ties. There is a need to focus on niche areas of cooperation such as climate change and sustainable development. People-to-people ties are a major aspect of bilateral relations which need to be built upon through generating more information about each other. Both countries should work towards perception management and contribute to setting the global narrative.
High Commissioner of India to New Zealand H.E. Mr. Muktesh Pardeshi and High Commissioner of New Zealand to India H.E. Mr. David Pine attended the Dialogue.