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New Delhi : Inaugurating the 25th edition of DST-CII India Netherlands Technology Summit in New Delhi on October 15, 2019, King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan, expressed their pleasure at the successful collaboration in Science & Technology between the two countries.

Addressing the inaugural session, King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands said that India and Netherlands complement each other in terms of technology and taken together, they make a great team. He stated that in the Netherlands experience, India was a partner you could trust and both could work together in areas such as Agriculture and Food Security, Water management and Climate Change, according to a PIB release. Another area where he felt that the two countries could share their experiences and approach was in terms of Public Private Partnerships. Queen Maxima of Netherlands also graced the occasion.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Dr Vardhan highlighted the shared heritage and common beliefs between both countries that has led to further build a sound bilateral relationship. He said, “Countries such as ours need to combine forces to seek sustainable answers to pressing global issues. They include poverty, hunger, job creation, energy security, human rights, gender inequality. At the same time we need to work together on climate change, terrorism, and depletion of natural resources.”

Recalling the centuries old partnership between India and Netherlands, the Minister stated that traditional items of trade between them had given way to more high technology ones. He added that India and the Netherlands were celebrating 10 years of cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation space, especially in areas such as Urban Water Management, Smart Energy Grids, and anti-microbial resistance, among others. He stated that Netherlands could help India in its quest to double farmers’ income by improving water technology in the farm sector.

Dr Vardhan also emphasized on the strong interests that both India and the Netherlands have in each other’s economies. He said that Netherlands is India’s 28th largest trading partner globally and 6th largest trading partner from the European Union. He added that the country has been the gateway for over 20% of all of India’s exports to the European Union. Between 2000 and 2017, the Netherlands invested US Dollars 24.31 billion in India ranking amongst the top 5 investors in the country. The Minister further informed that India too was amongst the top-5 investors in Netherlands.

The Minister informed that India has nurtured over 40,000 startups over the last 5 years of which about 31 have achieved the Unicorn status. Dr. Vardhan stated, “We have initiated programmes like Start-Up India and today we are number 3 in the world in terms of number of start-ups.  We are encouraging new solutions based on technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.”

Ms Ineke Dezentje Hamming, VP, Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers VNO-NCW, in her address, noted that the two countries could work together in areas such as dredging, agri and food processing and start-ups among others. 

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