Boosting trade, combating terror to top agenda during Belgium
Enhancing trade ties and bolstering efforts to combat terrorism will be among the key issues that will be discussed during Belgian King Philippe's maiden state visit to India next week.
India and Belgium are expected to ink 18 pacts in Delhi and nearly 23 agreements in Mumbai in the areas of trade, investment, smart cities, agro-food and animal husbandry during the Belgian King and Queen Mathilde's trip to India from November 5-11.
The King will meet President Ram Nath Kovind and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.
The royal couple will also visit the iconic Taj Mahal and in the third and the last leg of their visit, the King and the Queen will be in Mumbai.
During his stay in Mumbai, King Philippe will also meet Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao.
"The underlined theme of this state visit is one about Belgium and India (working) towards an innovative partnership in the 21st century," Jan Luykx, Belgian ambassador to India said, noting that the two nations are completing 70 years of diplomatic ties.
Belgium was also among the first European countries to establish a diplomatic mission in India after independence.
Luykx, while briefing reporters on the King and Queen's state visit to India, said the royal couple will also commemorate Indian soldiers' effort of defending Belgium during the First World War and lay a wreath at India Gate.
The King will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and other senior ministers and officials.
As trade will be one of the key issues to be discussed, the Belgian King will also be accompanied by a business delegation of nearly 90 people comprising CEOs of Belgian companies.
India is Belgium's second largest export destination and third largest trade partner outside the European Union.
In 2016-17, the bilateral trade amounted to USD 13.28 billion of which exports from India to Belgium accounted for USD 5.65 billion while imports from Belgium accounted for USD 6.62 billion.
Ramping up efforts to fight terror will also be one of the key issues to be discussed during the talks.
In June this year, Belgium had witnessed an explosion in the Brussels Central train station.
"I have no doubt that terrorism will be talked about," Luykx said.
Queen Mathilde will also have interactive sessions with experts in the field of Sustainable Development Goals and academics.
The couple has made several private visits to India. In 2010, Philippe, in capacity as the Crown Prince, had led a Belgian Trade Mission to India.
The visit is significant as kings, monarchs pay only one state visit to any country unlike elected heads of the states.
Philippe's father Albert II had visited India in 2008 and his grandfather Baudouin visited India in 1970.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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