Your Excellency, Prime Minister Mark Rutte,
It was in the month of June 2015 that I had the opportunity of welcoming you in India. I have said at that time that June usually is characterized by very high temperatures in India, it’s very hot and yet you chose that month to come to India and that was a symbol of your commitment towards our bilateral relations.
Today, after exactly two years I too have come to the Netherlands in the month of June, but of course between Delhi and the Hague there is a lot of difference as far as temperatures are concerned. It’s almost like day and night. The weather here, as I can see, is very pleasant.
First of all Excellencies, I would like to thank you and express my gratitude for the warm welcome that has been accorded to not just me but my entire delegation and through this warm welcome you have expressed warm sentiments for Indian people.
Excellency, this visit of mine to the Netherlands was decided at a very short notice and yet I have to put on record that the way the visit has been organized, not only did you agree to accommodating this visit at such a short notice but in this very short period of time a very substantive program has been put together and it is a very result oriented program. I would like to laud your leadership and I think it is a manifestation of your excellent leadership.
Excellency, you are absolutely right, the relations that exist between India and Netherland are centuries old and it is also both our country’s intention to always make them deeper and closer. This year, as you said Excellency, we mark the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and the Netherlands and it is absolutely, therefore natural that we focus even more on our bilateral relations.
Today’s world is an inter-dependent and inter-connected world therefore it is absolutely natural that in our discussions we will be discussion not only bilateral issues but also issues of international importance.
As far as international issues are concerned there is a lot of convergence of views between our two countries and it is with the help of Netherlands that India successfully got membership of the MTCR last year and for that I would like to thank you heartily.
As far as bilateral investments are concerned, till now Netherlands stands at the fifth largest source of Foreign Direct Investments. In fact during the last three years it has become the third largest source of Foreign Direct Investments.
I don’t think there is any need to repeat the fact that in India’s economic development, in our priorities for development, Netherlands is a natural partner.
Today we will also get an opportunity to have a meeting with the CEOs of Dutch companies and I hope they continue to have a positive outlook as far as India is concerned and I am eager to hear their views.
Today I will also have an opportunity to meet people of Indian origin living in the Netherlands. The Indian diaspora here is a living link and bridge between the two countries. It is also our endeavor to further strengthen these people-to-people contacts.
For me indeed it is a matter of good fortune that I will also be calling on His Majesty, the King and Her Majesty, the Queen and indeed I am looking forward to my meeting with them. Once again I express my heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Rutte, and the Government and the people of Netherlands.