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Ahead of BREXIT, Netherlands comes to woo India

Huma Siddiqui

Bilateral relations between India and Netherlands will get a boost when King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maixima accompanied by high-level business and official delegations visit India this week.

With Britain all set to exit from the European Union later this month, the Netherlands has been making efforts to further, strengthen ties with India.

The Netherlands is keen on expanding relations with India as it recognises it as a growing economy and there is growth potential here, said a senior officer.

The Dutch companies are coming to India to participate in various projects including science and technology, agriculture, logistics as well as water and waste management. And they have been sharing their expertise in agriculture and food processing sectors which are critical to India's food security.

King Willem-Alexander's first State visit to India following his ascension to the throne in 2013 will start from Oct 14, and he will be meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

More than 100 representatives of top Dutch companies from different sectors including space, agriculture, climate change, health care, water management, and innovation fair is accompanying the King. There will be economists, professionals, representatives of Dutch companies and experts from other domains.

They will also attend the Inaugural Session of 25th Technology Summit in New Delhi, where the Netherlands is the partner country.

The bilateral trade between the two nations has touched $12.87 billion for 2018-19, and the Dutch nation is the 5th largest investor in India with a cumulative investment of $23 billion for the period 2000 to December 2017.

The two countries have been in recent years been concentrating on deepening cooperation in the science and technology sector and are also looking at the private sector companies, institutes as well as start-ups.

Other areas of interest have been sharing technology in waste, wastewater management, and agriculture, which will help India. According to officials, agriculture is another important area of collaboration between the two countries as well as logistics, food packaging technologies.

Last year when Prime Minister Mark Rutte of that country had visited India, at the end of talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the two countries had signed more than 50 agreements for cooperation in various sectors like education, water and waste management, agriculture food processing, information technology and the development of smart cities.

It is also a host to the largest 235,000 strong Indian Diaspora in Europe.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar will call on the visiting royalty before leaving for Mumbai and Kerala.