NEW DELHI – King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands have begun their five-day state visit to India during which they will meet top Indian officials to boost economic and political ties between the two countries.
The royals were accorded a warm welcome by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday hours after they touched down in New Delhi.
A trade mission is set to take place to address the economic partnership potential between India and the Netherlands.
The king and the queen are accompanied by a large delegation of businessmen and government officials, including Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag, the Minister for Healthcare, Bruno Bruins, and the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mona Keijzer.
The delegation is in “India to co-create innovation in the next 5 days,” embassy of the Netherlands in India tweeted on Monday.
The royals will preside over the India-Netherlands Tech Summit on Tuesday which will also be attended by more than 100 Dutch companies and other institutions which represent various sectors, including agriculture, water, health care and climate change.
After the ceremonial welcome at the presidential palace, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima laid a wreath at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Raj Ghat.
Foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar called upon the king and the queen and “had fruitful discussions on expanding our relationship.”
The royal couple later met Modi at Hyderabad House to discuss bilateral, cultural and economic ties.
They will also visit a sewage treatment plant which is currently under way in New Delhi’s Barapullah drain, according to the MEA.
The project is a joint effort by Indian and Dutch institutions to test technologies on a novel holistic sewage water management approach to recycle water while simultaneously recovering nutrients and energy from the urban waste, thus converting drain into profitable mines.
The work on cleaning the drain – one of the largest in the Indian capital – began in 2017.
The king and the queen arrived in Delhi on Sunday night and are set to visit other Indian cities.
They will travel to Mumbai on Wednesday where they will be attending the third Indo-Dutch Port Forum.
They will be on a two-day visit to the southern Indian state of Kerala on Oct.17 and will wrap their state visit on Oct. 18.
India and the Netherlands have a bilateral trade turnover of $ 12.87 billion, according to a 2018-2019 data.
The Dutch country, which has 235,000 strong Indian Diaspora, the largest in mainland Europe, is also the fifth largest investor in India.