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Our relationship with India

India and New Zealand have a longstanding, friendly and growing relationship. Our ties go back to the 1890s when the first immigrants from Punjab and Gujarat came to New Zealand. Indian troops fought alongside the ANZACs in Gallipoli in 1915. And of course we’ve been long-time sporting rivals on the cricket pitch. There are now more than 180,000 New Zealanders of Indian descent, 46,000 Indians visited New Zealand in 2015, and 29,000 Indian students currently study in New Zealand.

Our relationship with India is a priority for New Zealand. India’s economy, population and political status are all growing strongly, making it a key partner in the Asia-Pacific region. It also represents enormous potential for our exporters.

Both our countries have an interest in the prosperity and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and actively participate in the East Asia Summit and the Asia Regional Forum. India is involved as a dialogue partner in the Pacific Islands Forum. We also connect as members of a number of international organisations including the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, and the Commonwealth.


The New Zealand and Indian governments have formed the India-New Zealand Education Council (external link) (INZEC) to coordinate educational links between the countries, focusing on academic and student exchanges, joint research activities and industry collaborations. The New Zealand India Research Institute (external link) is a consortium of scholars actively engaged in research on India in New Zealand universities.


2016 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$1.2 billion


Exports to India

$656 million 

Top exports: logs, and wool

Imports from India

$615 million

Top imports: retail medicines, motor vehicles, precious metals and jewellery


US$2.2 billion

GDP per capita US $6,577   
GDP growth  6.5%  

India is the world’s fastest growing major economy and by 2020 is expected to be the fifth largest economy in the world.  New Zealand and India enjoy a growing trade relationship and New Zealand is negotiating toward a free trade agreement with India, both bilaterally and through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

We have taken significant steps in our trade and economic relationship over the past five years. Services trade has more than doubled, to $1.23 billion, and this has helped to boost total trade (goods and services) by a third, to around $2.5 billion. Tourism has likewise more than doubled since 2011, with nearly 50,000 Indian tourists visiting New Zealand last year. India is New Zealand’s second largest source of international students, with 25,000 Indian student enrolments in New Zealand between January and August 2016.

There are also opportunities to grow exports in areas such as professional services, in-country provision of education, healthcare, and aviation.

Free trade agreements with India

We're negotiating a free trade agreement with India:

We're also negotiating a free regional free trade agreement that includes India:

NZ Inc India strategy

NZ Inc is the Government’s plan to strengthen New Zealand’s economic, political and security relationships with key international partners. The NZ Inc India strategy was the first NZ Inc strategy to be launched, highlighting the importance of this relationship to New Zealand.

Find out more about the NZ Inc India strategy 


Some New Zealand NGO’s received funding from the NZ Aid Partnerships Fund for projects in India (TEAR Fund, Christian Blind Mission, Rotary NZ, Bazaid).  

Find out about the Partnerships Fund

Students from India can apply for Commonwealth Scholarships, for postgraduate study at New Zealand universities.

Find out about Commonwealth Scholarships


Recent official visits

New Zealand to India
  • October 2016: Prime Minister Key visited India with a large business delegation.
  • November 2014: Minister Michael Woodhouse visited Mumbai to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with six key Indian tour operators under the Tourism Industry Partnership programme
  • November 2014: Minister Nathan Guy led a business delegation to Mumbai and New Delhi in the lead up to the Cricket World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand
  • November 2013:  Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully attended the Asia-Europe meeting
  • June 2013: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully visited New Delhi for high level engagement across the bilateral relationship
India to New Zealand
  • April 2016: Indian President Mukherjee undertaook the first ever official visit of an Indian President to New Zealand.
  • June 2015: Indian Minister of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship led a Parliamentary delegation to New Zealand to build links with New Zealand parliamentarians and to discuss opportunities for collaboration in skills development
  • July 2013: Minister of Human Resource Development, Education, Dr MM Pallam Raju visited to discuss the education relationship through the India-New Zealand Education Council
  • April 2012: Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar and a group of Indian Members of Parliament came to New Zealand as guests of the New Zealand Parliament
  • September 2011: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Preneet Kaur, participated in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) post-Forum Dialogue