The NewZealand-India Research Institute, based at Victoria and directed by Professor Sekhar Bandopadhay, an authority on Indian history and development, involves nearly 40 academics in five Zealand universities-Victoria, Auckland, Massey, Canterbury and Otago.
Moreover, it is been moddeled over the highly successful New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, also based at Victoria, which carries out a wide range of initiatives and promotes research to ensure New Zealand engages effectively with China.
Professor Bandopadhay says "It is because of New Zealand's size, no university has a large number of academic working on research related to India. By coming together in a national centre of Indian studies, we can have an impact both in terms of the research we carry out and in our engagement with academics in India."
The Institute will carry out research on Indian diaspora in New Zealand and also leverage the knowledge of Indian expatriates in New Zealand, he added.
This institute is one of a number of initiatives under the umbrella of the India-New Zealand Education Council (INZEC) which is co-chaired by New Zealand's Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Hon Steven Joyce and India's Minister of Human Resources Development, Kapil Sibal.
The Council has a jointly funded budget of $1 million and was set up last year to drive greater co-operation in education between New Zealand and India. The institute will further focus on five areas such as society and culture, migration, economics and business, environmental sustainability & politics and security.
In addition to the promoting research on India and New Zealand-India relations, it will encourage postgraduate studies on India in New Zealand universities and facilitate academic exchanges between India scholars in New Zealand, India and other parts of the world.