- Since 1980s, the Netherlands have identified India as an important economic partner.
- The relationship got further intensified after India’s economic liberalisation in the 1990s.
- Both the countries have the potential to further collaborate in areas like water management; infrastructure, logistics, ports, highways; inland water transportation; ICT; biotech; agriculture, agro-processing, floriculture; creative design industry etc.
- Netherlands is host to one of the largest population of people of Indian origin in Europe. It is home to about 220,000 Indian and Surinami Hindustani Diaspora.
- Netherlands supports India’s bid for UNSC permanent seat
- Also supports India’s membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and Australia Group (AG)
- India accepted membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) last year when the Netherlands had the chairmanship of the multilateral organisation
- India invited the Netherlands to join the International Solar Alliance.
- Both the countries have reaffirmed their commitment towards Paris climate deal.
3 MoUs signed on Indian PM’s visit of Netherlands:
- MOU on Cultural Cooperation,
- MOU on Water Cooperation
- Agreement on Amending Social Security Arrangement
Write a note on the relations between India and Netherlands. (200 Words)
India and Netherlands have shared cordial relations since Independence. The relations between the two nations have focused on economic and commercial aspects instead of a strategic outlook. However, even that has been changing in the recent past.
- Counter Terrorism – India and Netherlands have set up a joint working group on counter terrorism. This would help the two nations learn from each other’s experience. While India has a long history of tackling terrorism, Netherlands is a part of the coalition that is fighting the ISIS.
- Trade – Bilateral trade between the two nations was around 6 Billion Euros in 2014-15. Also, India was the fifth largest investor in the Netherlands.
- Renewable Energy – Netherlands has long experience in harnessing wind energy. Thus the two nations can collaborate in this sector as India attempts to increase the contribution of clean energy for sustainable development.
- Strategic Ties – The Netherlands supports a permanent seat for India at the UN Security Council.
- Water management – Netherlands is a country whose significant area lies below the sea level. Hence, it has faced devastating floods. India can benefit from that experience to tackle the problem at home.
- People to people contact – Netherlands is a popular tourist destination for Indians. The Indian government is also trying to attract the Dutch tourists by including Netherlands in the e-visa scheme.
- There are particularly lucrative opportunities for Dutch companies in the following sectors of India’s economy: agri-food, logistics (ports, shipping and inland waterways), technology (the automotive and defence industries) infrastructure and water management, energy, health, chemicals and creative industry.
- Exports from the Netherlands to India include machinery, optical equipment, cast iron and steel. The main Dutch imports from India are mineral fuels, including oil.
- The Netherlands and India maintain close relations in the fields of education and science. For instance, there are exchange programmes with various universities, and Indian and Dutch scientists conduct joint research. The Dutch government provides grants to Indian students
- Stemming from the 17th and 18th centuries when the Dutch East India Company (VOC) had trading posts in India. The Netherlands seeks to preserve that heritage, so this is an important area of cultural cooperation. Besides common cultural heritage, other focuses are the visual arts, film, new media, music and design
Although relations have flourished after Independence, but it is well below its potential.
Lack of comprehensive defence collaboration with India combined with insignificance of Netherlands in South Asian strategic affairs has impeded a fully-fledged strategic partnership between both nations.
There is huge potential for collaborations given the geopolitical and economic
necessities of both nations. Engagement of leaders at highest level along with greater economic and defence cooperation is the need of the hour to take ties to new levels