India, New Zealand Condemn Pulwama, Christchurch Attacks

New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern during which both countries strongly condemned and extended support to each other following the Pulwama and Christchurch terror attacks.

During the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday, the two leaders also discussed global and regional issues of mutual interest, including international terrorism and appreciated the convergence of views between the two nations in this regard, a statement by the Indian External Affairs Ministry said.

Modi also thanked Ardern for her presence at the “Relevance of Gandhi in the Contemporary Times” to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, held on the sidelines of UNGA on Tuesday.

India has also supported the joint New Zealand-French initiative on Christchurch Call of Action, an initiative to combat terrorism and extremism online and secure the Internet that was formed after the Christchurch terror attack in which 51 people were killed in an attack on two mosques in March this year.

Both leaders reviewed the state of bilateral relations and discussed steps to intensify political, economic, defence, security and people to people relations. They recalled their earlier meeting in November 2017 in Manila and noted that following the visit of former Prime Minister of New Zealand to India in October 2016, new institutional mechanisms have been instituted, which has substantially enhanced the bilateral relationship.

Ardern informed Modi about their new strategic paper “India 2022 – Investing in the Relationship”, which is a continuation of the NZ Inc India Strategy.

Ardern noted that the Indian diaspora and students in New Zealand was an important bridge between the two nations and contributing to bonds of friendship between the two countries.

During the meeting, Modi also conveyed his condolences on the Christchurch terror attack. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since the Christchurch attack, Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a briefing later.

There was also “some discussion on regional issues, in respect of counter terrorism”, the spokesperson added.

The meeting between Modi and Andern comes a day after she met her Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan during which he raised the Kashmir issue.

Khan had “briefed her on the plight of Kashmiris and the danger of a massacre in Kashmir once the curfew was lifted”.