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His Excellency Prime Minister Mr. Mark Rutte,and Members of the Media,

I am delighted to welcome Prime Minister Rutte and his eminent delegation to India. I am particularly pleased that Prime Minister, Rutte is leading a large trade delegation of over 80 Dutch companies.

Prime Minister Rutte brings vast business experience to his successful career in public life.

His decision to brave the Delhi heat to visit India speaks of his commitment to this relationship!

Though a relatively small country, Netherlands has a long history of remarkable achievements and global leadership in many areas.

Our two countries are bound by history and shared values. We have similar concerns like terrorism and common aspirations for a secure and stable world. The Netherlands hosts the second largest Indian community in Europe.

Several Dutch companies have a long presence in India. They are as likely to be seen as Indian as Dutch. Today, the Netherlands is the fifth largest source of investments in India.

India is also the fifth largest source of investments in the Netherlands. It is a reflection of its competitive and open business environment. The Netherlands has emerged as an important platform for Indian companies in the European Union, which is one of our largest markets.

So, I am pleased that Prime Minister Rutte is visiting us. We had a comprehensive and productive dialogue today. We discussed bilateral relations as well as global and regional issues of mutual interest. We were later joined by 35 business leaders from both sides for a working lunch.

We agreed that we both stand to benefit from closer bilateral and multilateral collaboration, including in areas such as countering terrorism and extremism, defence, maritime security and cyber security.

We have agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, which will hold its first meeting on 19th June.

I thanked Prime Minister Rutte for Dutch support for India's permanent membership of a reformed United Nations Security Council. I also thanked him for his support for India's candidature for the Security Council in 2021-22.

Our agreements today are closely aligned with India's economic priorities.

Prime Minister Rutte expressed support for our Make in India Mission, including in the defence sector.

The agreement on manufacturing of dredgers in India at the Cochin Shipyard is a welcome step in our efforts to develop Indian shipyards.

Similarly, the agreement on manufacturing of Measles, and Rubella Vaccine in India, with transfer of technology, represents yet another step to develop India's manufacturing sector, and improve healthcare.

We have also agreed to leverage Dutch expertise in developing coastal roads and metro lines in India.

We have agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on Skill Development.

In the renewable energy sector, I am happy that we are partnering in developing joint pilot projects for an electric vehicle ecosystem in India.

We are setting up centres of excellence in areas like horticulture and animal husbandry. These are areas of strong Dutch competence.

We will soon host a Dutch team to draw up a road-map for collaboration in the National Clean Ganga Mission.

More broadly, the Joint Statement outlines our road-map for cooperation in priority sectors of mutual interest, including infrastructure development, shipping, ports and inland waterways; renewable energy; science & technology; health and sports.

Our discussion with business leaders was helpful in understanding their perspectives and future plans. I was greatly encouraged by the keen interest and enthusiasm on both sides to form deeper partnerships.

I also conveyed our decision to include the Netherlands in India’s Electronic Tourist Visa scheme. This will boost Dutch tourism in India and enhance our people-to-people ties.

Our productive interactions today reaffirm my view of the Netherlands as a key partner in India’s economic development.

Your visit has set the stage to take our ties to the next level and realise the full potential of our relationship.

Thank you.

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