India – Netherlands Relations

Introduction : Netherlands is one of the largest investor in India today, with
longstanding connections that go back to several centuries.
Political Relations : Independent India was, in Dutch eyes, a developing country and a
sturdy democracy, but one struggling at that time, with several political, social and
economic issues. While there were some bilateral visits (Prime Minister Jawaharlal
Nehru in 1957; Crown Princess Beatrix in 1962) the Netherlands was engaged in
rebuilding its economy after World War II in an emerging Europe. The Netherlands’
focus on India increased after the economic liberalization programme gathered
momentum in the 1990s. Prime Minister Wim Kok’s visit to India in November 1999
Dutch government and business circles have, recently begun to move systematically
towards expanding trade, investment and technological cooperation.
The Netherlands is an important player in the global energy market and is a member of
Notwithstanding, its staunch position on global non-proliferation regime, it showed
understanding for India’s case for civilian nuclear cooperation and played a constructive
role during the recent NSG deliberations on India’s specific safeguard agreement.
Recent Exchange of High Level Visits between India and the Netherlands
There has been several high level visits from Netherlands to India in the recent past..
These include the second State Visit of HM Queen Beatrix’ second State visit to India,
visit of Dutch PM Balkenende and the visits of Dutch Foreign Trade Minister and Dutch
Minister for Transport, Public Works and Water Management.
From the Indian side, high level visits to Netherlands include the visits of Hon’ble Prime
Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon’ble Minister of S&T Hon’ble Minister of State for
Food Processing Industries Shri Kapil Sibal, , Shri Subodh Kant Sahai, Hon’ble Minister
of Overseas Indian Affairs, Shri Vayalar Ravi, Hon’ble Minister of Law & Justice Shri
H.R. Bhardwaj, President ICCR Dr. Karan Singh, Hon’ble Finance Minister Shri P.
Chidambaram .
Commercial and Economic Relations : Two-way trade with the Netherlands has
shown a growth of over 112.77% during the period 2004-2008 and stood at Euro 3.70
billion during Jan-November 2009. The balance of trade has been in India’s favour for
the past several years. Cumulative Dutch investment in India has grown to nearly USD
4 billion in the period April 2000 till Dec 2009 (provisional), accounting for 5% of total
inflows, making it the fifth largest investor in India.

Most Dutch commercial and financial
giants – Philips, Shell, Unilever (Hindustan Lever in India), KLM,

the three big banks –
ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank – and others – have had a growing and successful
presence in India.
The main Indian exports to the Netherlands are: textiles & garments; electric machinery
& equipment; agricultural products and processed foods, including marine products;
leather goods; cars and other vehicles; organic chemicals; rubber, plastics & works
thereof; mineral and metal products.

The main products imported from the Netherlands
to India are: machinery & equipment; medical and optical instruments; chemicals;
plastics & articles thereof; metal products.
Main Bilateral Treaties and Agreements
Various agreements, which together constitute a comprehensive framework for
bilateral co-operation, are operational between India and the Netherlands. These include
agreements on Air Services (May 1951), Mutual Surrender of Fugitive Criminals (Anglo –
Dutch Treaty of 1898 effected in 1971), Economic and Technical Cooperation (February
1983), Cooperation in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (June 1984, September 1990),
MoU on Cultural Cooperation (October 2007), Scientific Cooperation (July and
November 1985 respectively), Telecommunication (September 1987), Environmental
cooperation (January 1988), Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal
Evasion (July 1988), Promotion and Protection of Investments (November 1995), and
Investment Promotion (February 2004).Social Security Agreement (October 2009).
Multilateral Economic Cooperation
The Netherlands has cooperated closely and effectively with India in
multilateral trade fora such as the WTO, as also within the EU. It has been generally
supportive of India’s positions in particular, on issues such as anti-dumping measures
and attempts to link labour and environment factors with trade.
Culture and Education
There has been a steady flow of educational exchanges for over 50 years, in
fields ranging from Indology to contemporary developmental issues. In a significant
development in November 2008, ICCR announced its decision to support Leiden
University’s proposal for establishment of the first ever long-term Chair on Contemporary
Indian Studies.
The main institutes actively involved in Indian cultural, educational and related
promotional activities in the Netherlands are:

(i) Kern Institute, University of Leiden
(ii) The Institute of Social Studies
(iii) Rotterdam Conservatorium, Rotterdam
(iv) India Institute Amsterdam and Hindi Parishad
NRI/PIO community
28. There are about 20,000 NRIs / PIOs (not including the Dutch-Surinamese-
Hindustani community of Indian origin) in the Netherlands, out of which around 13000
have already obtained Dutch nationality. These NRIs/PIOs are mostly businesspersons
or professionals. In addition, there are about 180,000 Dutch-Surinamese-Hindustani of
Indian origin. They have Dutch nationality and are wholly integrated into the local
Air links with India/convenient travel routes
KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) operates daily direct flights to Delhi, Hyderabad and with North-West
Airlines to Mumbai. Several alternative routes via Frankfurt, Moscow, London, Paris, and
Vienna are also available on, inter alia, Air India.

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