AMSTERDAM: President Shri Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady Mrs. Savita Kovind, paid a State Visit to the Kingdom of Netherlands from 4-7 April 2022 on the invitation of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Maxima. They were accompanied by Shri Loganathan Murugan, Minister of State in Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Shri Dilip Ghosh, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha).
The maiden visit of the President of India to the Netherlands marked an important milestone as India and the Netherlands celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations this year. It is also the first Head of State visit from India to Netherlands in more than three decades.
The President was ceremoniously welcomed with full state honours at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Maxima on 5 April 2022. Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr Mark Rutte met President on 6 April 2022. On the same day President also exchanged views with the President of the Senate, Mr Jan Anthonie Bruijn and President of the House of Representatives Ms Vera Bergkamp on democratic practices and parliamentary exchanges.
In his meeting with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, President highlighted the natural partnership and synergies between India and the Netherlands as two democracies, major economies, drivers of innovation and technology and as key advocates of free and open Indo-Pacific. They discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation in priority sectors of water, agriculture, health, climate and clean energy, people-to-people and cultural cooperation. Both the leaders also exchanged views on current regional and global developments, including Ukraine.
In his discussions with the Dutch Prime Minister, President recalled the Virtual Summit held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Rutte held on 09 April 2021 and the announcement of Strategic Partnership on Water. Both sides expressed happiness at the signing of Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership on Water on 29 March 2021 between the Minister of Jal Shakti and Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water which lays a roadmap for intensifying bilateral cooperation in this key sector leveraging Dutch expertise and experience in addressing a number of common water related challenges. President welcomed Dutch start-ups and SMEs working in the field of geospatial mapping, Artificial Intelligence, clean energy, assistive technology and bio-medical devices to ‘Make in India’ and innovate in India.
During the visit, President and First Lady laid a wreath at the National Monument in Dam Square in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in World War II and armed conflicts. They also participated in a special ceremony at the famous Keukenhof Tulip garden to name ‘Maitri’ Tulip as a symbol of historic friendship between people of India and the people of the Netherlands. The President addressed a gathering of Indian community and friends of India including representatives of Surinami-Hindustani community members in the Netherlands where he acknowledged the positive contribution made by them to the host country and their role as living bridge between India and the Netherlands.
The President and First Lady along with their Majesties King and Queen of the Netherlands also graced a special cultural performance on ‘Ramayana’ by Kalakshetra Foundation of Chennai which was co-organized by Embassy of India in Netherlands and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) celebrations.
On the sidelines of the State Visit, several key documents were announced. These included:
(i) Extension of MoU on bilateral cooperation in the field of Ports, Maritime Transport and Logistics,
(ii) Extension of the Programme of Cooperation between Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Government of the Netherlands,
(iii) MoU for the Cosmos Malabaricus Project between Leiden University and the Kerala Council of Historical Research, National Archives of the Netherlands on digitizing 17th century archives and making them available to Indian and International researchers, and
(iv) Extension of MoU with State Archives Department, Kerala and National Archives of the Netherlands on the execution of the 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 convergences on global and regional issues. The State visit of the President, which took place as both India and the Netherlands celebrate 75th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties, reflected and reiterated the commitment to further deepen the relationship for mutual benefit of both peoples.