As thriving democracies and economic giants, India and Netherlands are "natural partners" who share a common outlook of multilateral solutions to global challenges, President Ram Nath Kovind has said, while noting that both countries share a common commitment towards achieving peace, security and prosperity in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
President Kovind arrived in Amsterdam on Monday from Turkmenistan on the final leg of his two-nation visit - the first presidential trip to the Netherlands after 34 years since the visit of President R Venkataraman in 1988 - during which he will hold discussions with the top leadership of the country.
In his address at the state banquet hosted by King Willem Alexander on Tuesday, Kovind noted that this year marks a milestone in bilateral ties as the two countries are jointly celebrating the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic relations that reflects the depth of India-Netherlands partnership.
As two thriving democracies and as two economic giants, India and the Netherlands are natural partners. We share a common outlook of multilateral solutions to global challenges, Kovind said.
President Kovind has hailed the Netherlands as a vital player in the strategic Indo-Pacific region and in the European Union (EU) and asserted that both countries share a common commitment to work towards achieving global peace, security and prosperity.
The Netherlands is an important player in the Indo-Pacific and European Union (EU). As key advocates for a free and open Indo-Pacific, we share a common commitment to work for global peace, security and prosperity, he asserted.
The Netherlands can also play a pivotal role in strengthening India-EU ties in areas of connectivity, energy transition and trade & investment, he elaborated.
The President's visit is a follow-up to the state visit of the King and Queen to India in 2019.
His visit offers the opportunity to further broaden and deepen the cooperation between the two countries, including in the field of water and agriculture and innovation cooperation in these fields, said a statement from the Royal House of the Netherlands.
President Kovind termed the robust trade as the bedrock of our bilateral relations.
Our bilateral cooperation is extensive and diverse, covering trade and investment; science and technology; water, agriculture and health; renewable energy and space. Robust trade and investments form the bedrock of our bilateral relations. With an investment of USD 38 billion, the Netherlands has consistently been among the largest investors in India, he said.
In his address, President Kovind also made an aggressive push for more diverse investments from the West European country.
Our flagship programmes like Digital India, Start-up India, and smart cities development, coupled with wide-ranging reforms offer an attractive environment. Dutch expertise in various sectors is a natural fit for India's growth and development, he said.
President Kovind concluded his speech by thanking the Netherlands for showing its solidarity with India during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our mutual support during the pandemic has highlighted the synergy in the area of healthcare and has shown that we can partner to develop and produce vaccines for the world, he added.
The President also noted that the Netherlands is home to the largest Indian diaspora in mainland Europe.
"They form a living bridge between our countries and include the Surinami-Hindustani community that represents a unique synthesis of Indian traditions and Dutch values. It includes professionals as well as Indian students who are making a positive contribution to the Dutch economy and society," he said.
Apart from King Alexander and Queen Maxima, President Kovind's banquet speech saw the attendance of several distinguished delegates from the Netherlands and India.
President Kovind also laid a wreath at Dam Square, Amsterdam.
During his visit to the Netherlands from April 4 to 7 at the invitation of King Alexander and Queen Maxima, President Kovind will also hold discussions with the Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Earlier, Kovind and his wife First Lady Savita Kovind visited the Keukenhof, the garden of Europe and home to the world-famous tulips.
The garden attracts millions of visitors each year and heralds the spring in the Netherlands.
It showcases the Dutch expertise in horticulture which makes it as the world's largest producer and exporter of tulips.
"Today, a new flower will bloom for India-Netherlands relations. We are naming the tulip flower as Maitri' which in Sanskrit means friendship," Kovind said, as he thanked the breeders of a new Tulip variant.
"I sincerely thank the Government of the Netherlands for this unique gesture and also wish to appreciate the efforts of the breeders of this beautiful new Tulip variant. It will inspire us to work towards strengthening bonds of friendship and ties between people of India and the Netherlands," he added.