Indian Defence Delegation
Thursday 24 May 2007
Good afternoon. I am delighted to welcome members of the Indian Defence community to Christchurch.
New Zealand and India share a common colonial heritage and similar forms of government.
Christchurch is a multi cultural city with a thriving Indian community. We welcome Indian migrants for, among other things, their business flair, their sporting ability and of course their wonderful food.
Christchurch is a global city that looks outwards. Our prosperity depends on our ability to trade with the world and we welcome this opportunity to host a group from India one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
It has been said that this is the start of the Asian Century. As a city we are aware that within the not too distant future, two of the main, if not the main world economic and political powers on the planet will be China and India.
As your first Prime Minister Pandi Nehru wisely said, “Defence is not an isolated subject. It is intimately connected with the economic aspects, industrial aspects and many other aspects in the country”.
The best line of defence for any country is its prosperity and the ability of its people to work and support themselves and their families and to enjoy productive lives.
Christchurch has built sister city relationships with cities in the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, USA and China. Increasingly we see these relationships as creating opportunities for export, trade and investment.
It’s great to have an Indian Defence Delegation in the city because, like sister city relationships, it brings person to person contact among people and brings with it the opportunity to learn and make friends.
My best wishes for the rest of your visit to New Zealand.