Pranab to Embark on First-ever State Visit to New Zealand, PNG

Briefing reporters, Vikas Swarup said this will be the first ever visit to the two countries by the President.

Published: 22nd April 2016 08:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2016 08:53 PM   |  A+A-

vikas-swarup
By PTI

NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee will visit Papua New Guinea (PNG) and New Zealand next week, his first-ever state visit to the two countries, during which a raft of agreements will be signed.

During his visit beginning with PNG on April 28, several agreements are expected to be signed in the fields of education, health, connectivity, economic cooperation, agriculture and dairy farming.

Briefing reporters today, External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said "this will be the first ever visit to the two countries by the President."

The President will be accompanied by Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and a delegation of members of Parliament.

"Several agreements are expected to be signed during the visit in the fields of economic cooperation, education and connectivity," he said.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the largest of Pacific island country, both in terms of land area and population, and is blessed with abundant natural resources.

Its Prime Minister Peter O'Neill had visited India last August for a summit meeting.

"A number of areas of cooperation between India and PNG are in the process of finalisation in the fields such as health, infrastructure development, capacity building etc.," Swarup said.

On the President's visit to New Zealand, which starts from April 30, he said India and New Zealand traditionally share close relations.

"Both sides see prospects for cooperation in agriculture, dairy, food processing, education and skill development as well as high technology. The Indian diaspora of 1,75,000 helps to further cement our ties," he said.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key had visited India in 2011 while the Governor General of New Zealand visited the country in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

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