The Indian government looks set to open a consulate general in Auckland that provides fully fledged consular services, deepening its diplomatic footprint in New Zealand.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in late December his Cabinet had approved a proposal to establish a consulate general in Auckland.
"Opening of Consulate General of India in Auckland would help increase India's diplomatic footprint and strengthen India's diplomatic representation given India's increasing global engagement," the prime minister's office said.
"This will also help promote India's strategic and commercial interests and better serve the welfare of the Indian community in Auckland."
The consulate is likely to be opened and fully operational within 12 months, the prime minister's office said.
The office is expected to provide a wide range of consular, commercial and cultural services, including visa/passport renewals, overseas citizen of India approvals, trade and foreign investment guidance, and exchange visits, cultural performances and events.
India operates a high commission in Wellington to service the country's diplomatic needs, opening an honorary consulate in Auckland in 2017.
In India, New Zealand operates a high commission in New Delhi as well as a consulate general in Mumbai, led by New Zealand Trade Commissioner in India and South Asia Graham Rouse. New Zealand also has an honorary consul in Chennai.
"Thanks to PM Modi for accepting our long-standing demand as a fully staffed and resourced consulate general was the need of the hour with now nearly 200,000 Indians in the greater Auckland region," says Bhav Dhillon, honorary consul of India in Auckland.
The honorary consulate in Auckland currently serves the community by liaising with the high commission in Wellington.
Dhillon says the opening of a new consulate is an important step and that services such as passport renewals and overseas citizen of India approvals will significantly benefit the community.
The National Party has been vocal about improving ties with India, singling out the South Asian nation in a reference to pursuing free trade agreements with other states in its coalition deal with New Zealand First.
On the campaign trail in the run-up to the election, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon had pledged to make a free trade deal with India a reality, also promising to visit the subcontinent within a year of taking office.