Wellington: The fifth Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between India and New Zealand were held in Wellington where both sides reviewed the wide-ranging bilateral relations, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Saturday.

The meeting was co-chaired by India’s Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East), MEA, and New Zealand's Deborah Geels, Deputy Secretary of Americas and Asia Group.

Both sides took note of the recent momentum in high-level engagements and the need to sustain it further.

“The two sides expressed satisfaction at the enhanced engagement between the two countries. They reviewed their wide-ranging bilateral relations including political, economic and trade cooperation, defence exchanges, education, science and technology, as well as, people-to-people links and cultural cooperation. Regional and multilateral matters including India’s Presidency of the G-20, Indo-Pacific, ASEAN, Commonwealth, and UN were discussed,” a statement read

Both countries stressed the huge potential in trade and economic sectors and agreed to further promote G2G (government-to-government) and B2B (Business-to-business) interactions.

Secretary (East) also held bilateral meetings with Chris Seed, Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Andrew Bridgman, Secretary of Defence of New Zealand.

In the meeting, both sides appreciated the importance of FOC and agreed to hold them on a regular basis. The next FOC will be held in India on mutually convenient dates.

Earlier this year in January, the fourth Foreign Ministry Consultations between India and New Zealand were held in New Delhi in which both the countries reviewed bilateral relations including trade and investment, defence and security, and counter-terrorism.

Discussions were also held on ways to strengthen coordination at regional and multilateral fora.

India and New Zealand have cordial and friendly relations rooted in the linkages

of the Commonwealth, parliamentary democracy and the English language.

The two countries have been fellow travellers in their commitment to disarmament, global peace, North-South Dialogue, human rights, ecological preservation and combating

international terrorism. People-to-people contacts have been in focus since migration

from India to this country began at the turn of the last century, and a sizeable population

of Indian origin (estimated at about 175,000) has made New Zealand its permanent home.

Tourism and sporting links, particularly in cricket, hockey and mountaineering, have

played a significant role in fostering goodwill between the two countries.

New Zealand has identified India as a priority country in its “Opening Doors to India” policy notified in October 2011.