“New Zealand working very hard to combat global threat of terrorism”

Expressing concern over the attack on the Inter-Continental hotel in Kabul, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Wednesday said his country had put in all efforts to tackle terrorism and was partnering with India on many fronts.

“We do share information with India. New Zealand is working very hard to combat the global threat of terrorism. Obviously we are very concerned about the terrorist attack that India suffered in Mumbai very recently. We are working with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other [bodies] and doing everything we can to make the world a safer place.” Mr. Key told journalists here.

He was responding to a question, on intelligence sharing, on the sidelines of a visit to the indigenously built fast attack craft, ‘INS CANKARSO.'

The island country was also collaborating with the Indian armed forces. “Yesterday [Tuesday], at a meeting with Prime Minister [Manmohan Singh], we announced the appointment of a Defence Adviser. Initially, they will be based in Wellington, but will be the focal point for collaborating with the Indian armed forces. We would be looking to increase the number of exercises that we do together and the information that we share together.”

In education, Wellington would be “co-funding a number of scholarships and programmes for education opportunities in New Zealand.” Furthermore, there was a lot of progress made in free trade agreements with India. “We have hit five rounds of negotiations and we are likely to have another three or four rounds before we complete the process in 2012,” Mr. Key said.

Strengthening ties

Visiting the sets of the movie, Players, in Mumbai's Film City, he spoke of strengthening ties between New Zealand and Bollywood in a bid to boost the tourism industry in the country. Part of Players has been shot in New Zealand, which has signed a film co-production agreement with India.

“The visit of the Prime Minister will further strengthen India-New Zealand maritime cooperation,” a defence press note said.

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