new Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady Savita Kovind paid a state visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 4 to 7 April at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. He was accompanied by Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Loganathan Murugan and Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) Dilip Ghosh.

The first visit of the President of India to the Netherlands is an important milestone as India and the Netherlands celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations this year. This is also the first Head of State visit from India to the Netherlands in more than three decades. On 5 April, the President was received with full state honors at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Maxima.

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Root, called on the President on 6 April. On the same day, the President also visited the Dutch Parliament, where he was received by Senate President Jan Anthony Bruijn and House of Representatives Speaker Vera Bergkamp. In his meeting with Willem-Alexander, the President highlighted the natural partnership and synergy between India and the Netherlands as two democracies, major economies, drivers of innovation and technology, and key advocates of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

They discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation in the priority areas of water, agriculture, health, climate and clean energy, people-to-people and cultural cooperation. The two leaders also exchanged views on current regional and global developments. In his discussions with the Dutch Prime Minister, the President recalled the virtual summit held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Rutte on 9 April and the announcement of the Strategic Partnership on Water.

Both sides expressed happiness at the signing of the Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership on Water between the Minister of Jal Shakti and the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water on March 29, 2021, which sets out a roadmap for intensifying bilateral cooperation in this key area. Is. Leveraging Dutch expertise and experience in addressing many common water challenges.

The President welcomed Dutch start-ups and SMEs working in the fields of geospatial mapping, artificial intelligence, clean energy, assistive technology and bio-medical devices to ‘Make in India’ and innovate in India. During the visit, the President and the First Lady laid wreaths at the National Memorial in Dam Square in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in World War II and armed conflicts.

He also participated in a special ceremony at the Keukenhof tulip garden, famous for the name ‘Maitri’ tulips as a symbol of the historical friendship between the people of India and the people of the Netherlands. The President addressed a gathering of friends from the Indian community and India, including members of the Suriname-Hindustani community in the Netherlands, where he acknowledged the positive contribution he has made to the host country and his role as a living bridge between India and the Netherlands. accepted. ,

The President and First Lady along with His Majesty the King and Queen of the Netherlands also participated in a special cultural performance on ‘Ramayana’ by Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai, which was co-organized by the Embassy of India in the Netherlands and the Council of India. As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) celebrations of Cultural Relations (ICCR).

During the state visit, several important decisions were announced such as (I) expansion of MoU on bilateral cooperation in the field of ports, maritime transport and logistics, (II) expansion of program of cooperation between Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Government of the Netherlands, (III) the University of Leiden and the National Archives of Kerala Historical Research, Netherlands for the Cosmos Malabaricus project to digitize and create 17th century archives. They are available to Indian and international researchers and (iv) extension of MoU with State Archives Department, National Archives of Kerala and Netherlands on execution of shared cultural heritage programme.

India and the Netherlands enjoy long-standing friendly and multi-faceted relations with a broad agenda of cooperation marked by shared values ​​of democracy, rule of law and growing convergence on global and regional issues. The President’s state visit, which took place as both India and the Netherlands celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, reflected and reiterated the commitment to further deepen ties for the mutual benefit of the peoples of both countries.