New Zealand on India-Canada relations

News Excerpt:

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, indicated that it was too early to comment on the NIjjar case that has damaged India-Canada ties for the past few months.

New Zealand’s views on Nijjar case:

  • Recently, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during his visit to India stated that evidence in the Nijjar killing in Canada can only be known once Canadian authorities complete their investigation and take the trial to the court.
    • His comments are significant as they come after the previous New Zealand government had joined other ‘Five Eyes’ grouping countries in calling on New Delhi to cooperate in the Canadian investigation of the Nijjar killing.
    • Five Eyes Group also expressed concerns over the Indian government’s decision to ask half of the Canadian High Commission’s diplomats to leave India in the wake of the allegations.
  • New Zealand and India share common strategic perspectives about the security challenges of the Indo-Pacific region.

Canada’s views on the issue of Nijjar:

  • Canadian Prime Minister's allegations in the Parliament that Indian government agents were allegedly involved in the plot to assassinate a Khalistani separatist Canadian activist, who was killed in June 2023. 
  • Since then the issue has snowballed, especially after the U.S. authorities filed the indictment of an Indian national for ordering the assassination of another Khalistani separatist, at the behest of a senior Indian intelligence official. 
    • Canadian authorities, who made their charge publicly before the U.S., have yet to take their case to trial. 

India-New Zealand Relations:

  • India and New Zealand traditionally share close and friendly relations which are reinforced by their commonwealth background.
  • Both countries are following in their commitment to disarmament, global peace, North-South Dialogue, human rights, ecological preservation and combating international terrorism. 
  • Indians started arriving in NZ in the late 18th century on British East India Company ships, bringing supplies to Australian convict settlements. 
    • Most of the initial immigrants were from Gujarat followed by Punjab 
      • In 1920, they formed the Auckland Indian Association.
      • In the last decade, most of the new immigrants came as students and settled down in jobs and professions after completing their education and as per the 2018 census, number about 2,50,000, making up 5% of NZ’s total population. 
      • Hindi is the fifth most spoken language in NZ. There are Indian Associations in all major towns, which help the community nurture its cultural heritage. 
    • NZ India Central Association, founded in 1926, is the umbrella organisation of all Indian associations in NZ.
    • The presence of a large Indian diaspora in NZ acts as a strong ‘living bridge’ between the two countries. 
      • Indians have integrated themselves well with the local communities while preserving their Indian identity.
  • People-to-people contacts have flourished since migration from India began at the turn of the last century. 
    • NZ has approximately 3,00,000 persons of Indian origin & NRIs, a vast majority of whom have made NZ their permanent home.                                                                                                                                                                                                              
    • India is the second largest source of international students in NZ pursuing higher education in various disciplines such as information technology, hospitality, science, engineering and architecture.
  • NZ identified India as a priority country in its “Opening Doors to India” policy notified in October 2011, which was reiterated in 2015.
    • In 2011, NZ launched the NZ Inc. India Strategy, aiming to make India a core trade, economic and political partner for NZ. 
    • On the eve of the visit of the DPM / Foreign Minister of NZ in February, 2020, NZ released the Strategy Paper “India-NZ 2025 – Investing in the Relationship”, which builds on earlier policy papers and envisions a more “enduring strategic relationship” with India over the next five years.
  • Indian diaspora in New Zealand numbers about 240,000.
  • India is NZ’s 15th largest two-way trading partner with total two-way trade valued at US$1.56 bn during the year ending June 2023. 
    • India primarily imports logs (which is currently halted due to a phytosanitary issue) and forestry products, wood pulp, wool and edible fruit & nuts from NZ. 
    • Indian exports to NZ mostly are pharmaceuticals/medications, precious metals and gems, textiles and motor vehicles and non-knitted apparel and accessories.


New Zealand's stance on the Nijjar case reflects its commitment to due process and legal proceedings. Despite recent tensions, India and New Zealand continue to maintain strong bilateral relations, driven by shared values, cultural ties, and mutual economic interests, fostering a deepening strategic partnership.

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