New Delhi: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Monday announced a new sports scholarship and exchange programme, wherein a number of scholarships would be provided to Indian students to study sports in New Zealand universities.

Apart from strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries, the programme will ensure greater connections between India and New Zealand sports scholars, coaches, trainers and students in physical education and sports medicine.

"India and New Zealand enjoy a very warm relation. The two countries connect with each other through sports. So, we have decided to provide some scholarships to aspiring Indian students to come and study sports in New Zealand universities," Key said while announcing the new initiative during a visit to the Froze Shah Kotla ground here.

"In New Zealand a number of universities provide education in sports. There are about 11,500 Indian students currently studying in New Zealand," he said during a programme, which was also attended by New Zealand High Commissioner to India Jaan Hendersen.

Among others who were present during the occasion were Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Matthews, former New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming and students of Asha Foundation, an NGO working with slum children.

The Kiwi PM also congratulated the Indian cricket team for winning the World Cup at their home turf earlier this year.

"Congratulations to India for their success in the World Cup. I had the privilege to invite the Indian team to our Parliament a few years back and also meet Sachin Tendulkar," Key said.

(Agencies)