Narendra Modi-John Key talks: New Zealand to 'contribute constructively' on NSG, cooperate in India's fight against terror

Without committing itself on India's NSG membership bid, New Zealand on Wednesday said it would continue to "contribute constructively" to the process currently underway in the 48-nation grouping on the issue and work for an early decision.

Narendra Modi-John Key talks: New Zealand to 'contribute constructively' on NSG, cooperate in India's fight against terror
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New Delhi: New Zealand on Wednesday said it would continue to 'contribute constructively' to the process currently underway in the 48-nation grouping regarding India's NSG (Nuclear Suppliers' Group) membership bid.

At the same time, the two countries called for stopping cross-border terrorism while agreeing to strengthen their political, defence and security relationship.

This was conveyed by visiting Kiwi Prime Minister John Key after talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

After the 'productive' talks between PM Modi and Key, the two sides inked three pacts including one pertaining to Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and decided to establish Foreign Minister-level dialogue as well as exchanges on cyber issues.

Asserting that they had detailed and productive discussions on all aspects of the bilateral engagement and multilateral cooperation, PM Modi at a joint media event with Key said, "I am thankful to Prime Minister Key for New Zealand's constructive approach to the consideration of India's membership of the NSG."

There was no clear word of support on India's entry into NSG from the visiting leader, who only said, "New Zealand would continue to contribute constructively to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India's membership."

Noting that they had a "detailed" discussion on India's NSG bid, Key also said, "New Zealand is committed to working with NSG members to reach a decision as soon as possible."

New Zealand acknowledged the "importance to India of it joining the NSG", a joint statement issued after the talks said, adding that India stressed that this would provide the predictability necessary for meeting India's clean energy goals in the context of the Paris agreements.

"We are encouraged by the discussions on the NSG issue. New Zealand showed understanding of India's clean energy needs and the importance of predictability in global rules on nuclear commerce in enabling the expansion of nuclear energy in India," government sources said, as per PTI.

New Zealand was one of the countries that took the stand at the last NSG plenary in South Korea in June that no exception can be made in the case of India, a non-NPT country, while considering its membership bid of the elite group that regulates trade in nuclear material. At the plenary, despite strong US support, China had blocked India's bid on the ground that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

On the other hand, PM Modi, in his remarks, said terrorism was "one of the greatest challenges to global peace and security".

"The barriers of geography do not safeguard against the threat of radicalisation and terrorism. Nations who believe in humanity need to coordinate their actions and policies to counter this threat," he said. 

He said India and New Zealand have agreed to strengthen their security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security. 

Both PM Modi and Key used cricket terminology to emphasise cordial ties between the two countries. 

"In our ties... defensive play has given way to aggressive batting," PM Modi said as Key too invoked cricketing ties and pointed to former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum playing for Indian Premier League team Gujarat Lions from Modi's home state. New Zealand cricket team is at present on a tour of India, as per IANS.

A joint statement, released after the delegation-level talks between PM Modi and Key, said the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats in all their forms and manifestations.

"They called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border terrorism," the statement said.

Both the leaders also called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to strengthen the international counter-terrorism legal framework.

Modi and Key underlined that India and New Zealand were both maritime nations with a strong interest in the Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific regions being stable and prosperous, including by ensuring the safety and security of sea lanes and freedom of navigation. 

Earlier in the day, Key, who arrived on Tuesday on a three day visit, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan, where he was received by President Pranab Mukherjee and Modi. He also attended a business event in the afternoon. 

(With Agency inputs)

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