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Indo-Dutch ties on the upswing; Netherlands joins Solar Alliance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is in India at PM Modi’s invitation held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral and international issues at the Hyderabad House on Thursday.

Both leaders acknowledged the private sector’s role in boosting trade and investment. PM Modi assured investors from the Netherlands that government of India is committed to economic reforms.

Prime Minister Modi laid emphasis on cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food security, saying that such cooperation is important in realizing the aim of doubling farmers incomes.

PM Modi noted that the first Indo-Dutch Centre of Excellence CoE in Vegetables had started in Baramati, Maharashtra. There has been good Cooperation in urban development as well. Waste Water Management projects in Vadodara and Delhi are working well. Both leaders commended the 10th anniversary of Indo-Dutch collaboration in Science, Technology and Innovation. India also welcomed the Netherlands as the Partner Country for the TechSummit in 2019.

The Netherlands has become the 64th signatory member of the International Solar Alliance. Prime Minister Modi said both countries have stood together on many an international forum and the Solar Alliance is a symbol of this strong partnership. The Dutch Prime Minister highlighted how both countries are working together in numerous areas.

Prime Minister Rutte also interacted with Indian Industry. While speaking at an event orgainsed by the Indo-Dutch Ganga Forum, the Dutch Prime Minister praised the  Namami Ganga project and said the Netherlands is fully prepared to play its part in cleaning the Ganga.

Mark Rutte is in India on a two-day visit accompanied by a high-level delegation.

According to data for 2016-17, the Netherlands was the fifth largest foreign investor in India. Globally, the Netherlands is India’s 28th largest trading partner. Within the European Union, the Netherlands is India’s sixth largest trading partner. Between 2016-17, there was a trade of 6.9 billion US dollars between the two countries. At present, 174 Indian companies have their presence in the Netherlands. Assocham established an office in the Netherlands in December 2015.  In February 2016, a branch of the Netherlands-India Chamber of Commerce and Trade (NICCT) was established in Mumbai.

Both countries also share stron cultural ties. The Indian community in the Netherlands is the second largest by population. There are about 2 lakh 35,000 people of Indian origin in the Netherlands who act as a strong cultural link between the two countries. In 2017, both countries celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations. PM Modi had travelled to the Netherlands in June 2017 to mark the occasion and it is within a year that Mark Rutte has returned that visit. Relations have only grown stronger.