The visit to New Zealand further consolidated shared commitments of both the navies

Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, who visited New Zealand from September 29 to October 1, has held detailed discussions on closer maritime cooperation with New Zealand's Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor.

The discussions between India's Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) covered a wide spectrum of maritime cooperation opportunities, India's Ministry of Defence said on Sunday.

"Both leaders exhibited enthusiasm towards expanding the scale and scope of bilateral engagements in the coming years," the ministry added.

Admiral Hari Kumar conveyed compliments to RNZN leadership for their active participation in MILAN-22 and said that the Indian Navy was looking forward to maiden participation of young RNZN officers in the upcoming Admiral’s Cup Sailing Regatta, scheduled to be hosted by the Indian Navy in December 2022.

An Agreement on White Shipping Information Exchange was signed during the Indian Navy Chief's visit. Describing it as "milestone achievement", the Ministry of Defence said closer collaboration towards enhancing shared Maritime Domain Awareness was in keeping with convergent views of both countries with regard to promoting greater transparency in the maritime domain.

On his arrival, he was warmly welcomed in the traditional Powhiri ceremony hosted by the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) leadership at the Te Taua Moana Marae and was presented the Ceremonial Guard of Honour at the Navy Ground.

The visit coincided with RNZN's 81st anniversary celebrations and India's Chief of Naval Staff presented a model of recently commissioned Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant to his New Zealand counterpart.

Admiral Hari Kumar was also honoured to be invited as a distinguished guest to Auckland's "Beat Retreat and Ceremonial Sunset Ceremony" to commemorate this momentous anniversary.

Later, he visited the Maritime Museum of New Zealand, which highlights the nation's rich maritime past. Admiral Hari Kumar also took advantage of the chance to meet Indian veterans and local officials in Auckland while being escorted by Bhav Dhillon, the Honorary Consul of India in Auckland.

"The visit to New Zealand further consolidated shared commitments of both navies and has set in motion a promising growth trajectory for deeper bilateral maritime engagements," the Ministry of Defence noted.