Belgian’s Royal couple visited Taj Mahal. It was King Philippe’s first state visit to India after his ascension to the throne in 2013. The royal couple is to visit India at the invitation of the President. During their stay, they commemorate Indian soldiers’ effort of defending Belgium during the World War I and lay a wreath at the India Gate.
King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola during their visit 47 years ago were received at the airport by then President V V Giri. Besides, the Taj Mahal, the royal couple had also paid homage to the Mahatma by laying a wreath at his memorial at Rajghat. The king had visited the Qutub Minar as well.
The visit aimed at enhancing bilateral ties, including in trade in other areas of cooperation, will also mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The theme of the visit is innovative partnership for the 21st century. Belgium was also among the first European countries to establish a diplomatic mission in India after independence. India is Belgium’s second largest export destination and the third largest trading partner outside the European Union.
Belgium is India’s eight largest trading partners since 2009, accounting for trade of about Rs 41,552 crore. India and Belgium share the common value of “democracy, pluralism and rule of law” and Belgium has supported the G4 nations. The former deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Steven Vanackere had said that “slowly but surely” India was getting its “rightful place in global governance”. He reiterated that Belgium “unequivocally” reconfirmed its support for India’s bid for a permanent seat in the enlarged UN Security Council.
According to official data, in 2016-17, 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.