India-New Zealand Current Affairs

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India, New Zealand ink three agreements including avoidance of double taxation

India and New Zealand signed three agreements in the areas of double taxation avoidance (DTA), sports and food security to carry forward the ties between both sides.

The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his New Zealand counterpart John Key after the delegation-level talks in New Delhi.

Both countries have reached an understanding on further cooperation on cyber security, counter-terrorism, customs, education and food safety

Signed agreements are

  • Arrangement between the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand regarding Food Safety Cooperation and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports. It was signed between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India and Sport New Zealand.
  • Protocol to the convention for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

Besides, both countries also agreed to

  • Establish Bilateral Ministerial Dialogue between two Foreign Ministries.
  • Establish Annual Foreign Ministry Consultations at Senior Officials Level.
  • Cooperation and Dialogue on Cyber Issues.

Support for NSG

During this visit of New Zealand PM, India failed to get outright support of New Zealand for its  bid for Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) membership. India had clearly notified New Zealand that its entry to the NSG was tied to its need for clean energy and climate change commitments. Thus, it indicates that New Zealand is yet to change its position of admitting only signatories of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries in NSG, a group of 48 countries which works by consensus.

Why New Zealand does not support India’s bid to NSG?

New Zealand is part of a group called the New Agenda for Coalition which promotes the NPT and pushes for nuclear disarmament worldwide.

Comment

  • The official state visit New Zealand PM John Key comes in run-up to a crucial NSG Consultative Group (CG) meeting to be held in Vienna in November 2016.
  • This meeting will specifically to consider whether countries that haven’t signed on to the NPT can be considered for membership.
  • Earlier in June 2016, India’s membership bid to NSG had failed to make headway in Seoul (South Korea) after it was opposed by China and other countries.
  • New Zealand was also among the countries led by China that have demanded to set criteria for non-signatories of the NPT for joining NSG.

What is New Agenda for Coalition (NAC)?

NAC is a geographically dispersed group of middle power countries that promotes the NPT and pushes for nuclear disarmament worldwide. It consists of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa. The group was officially launched in Dublin (Ireland) in June 1998 in response to the North-South divide that stymied talks on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation within the framework of the NPT.

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NASA launches near-space monitoring super pressure balloon from New Zealand

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully launched a super pressure balloon to conduct near-space scientific investigations.

It was launched from South Island Wanaka Airport, New Zealand in the fifth attempt. Earlier four attempts to get the massive balloon airborne were thwarted by bad weather.

Key facts

  • The balloon is 532,000 cubic metres and aims to remain airborne for more than 100 days.
  • It is expected to circumnavigate the globe in the mid-latitudes of southern hemisphere once every one to three weeks, depending on wind speeds in the stratosphere.
  • Balloon’s operational float altitude is 33.5 kms and it will be visible from the ground, particularly at sunrise and sunset in the southern hemisphere’s mid-latitudes.
  • Its flight operations throughout the mission will be controlled by NASA’s balloon experts at Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Note: Long-duration balloon flights at constant altitudes play an important role in providing inexpensive access to the near-space environment for science and technology.

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India, New Zealand ink Air Services Agreement

India and New Zealand have signed a landmark Air Services Agreement paving the way for introduction of direct flights between the two countries.

The agreement was signed in the presence of the President Pranab Mukherjee and the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

The agreement will lead to easier air connectivity between both countries that have inhibited both business travel and people- to- people contact in the past.

The Air Services Agreement was signed under the Convention of International Civil Aviation that aims to promote international air services between their respective territories.

Background

The two-way tourist traffic between India and New Zealand has witnessed sharp rise in recent past. There are nearly 1,75,000 persons of Indian origin  living in New Zealand of which about 15,000 are Indian students. The two-way trade between the two countries has doubled in the last few years. Business, Education and Tourism also have grown exponentially between both countries.

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