Modi jets into Netherlands, 'India's gateway to Europe'


The Hague (AFP)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jetted into The Netherlands for a one-day working visit Tuesday to boost ties between the major trading partners.

Some 20 percent of India's exports to Europe flows through The Netherlands and both leaders said the lowlands country is seen as a "major gateway" to the continent.

"As far as bilateral investments are concerned, until now The Netherlands stands as the fifth-largest source of foreign direct investment," Modi said after meeting Rutte at his official residence in The Hague.

"I don't think there is any need to repeat the fact that in India's economic development and our priorities for development, Netherlands is a natural partner," Modi added.

The Netherlands in particular specialises in water management and the two countries Tuesday signed an agreement which includes cooperation in managing India's numerous river deltas as well as anti-pollution measures in the Ganges River.

New Delhi and The Hague also signed a memorandum of understanding on social security agreements and cultural cooperation.

Rutte "commended India for its commitments to renewable energy and to the Paris Climate Agreement" and threw his support behind India's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

"The role of The Netherlands as India's gateway to Europe is only expected to grow in the coming years," Rutte said.

India remains a major trading partner of The Netherlands, with exports to the subcontinent totalling some 2.9 billion euros ($3.2 billion) last year, according to the Dutch central statistics office.

Modi's visit followed his trip to the United States where he and President Donald Trump both pledged to boost their quest for economic growth to strengthen the world's two largest democracies.