The visit aims to strengthen political and economic bilateral ties between the Netherlands and India.The key ingredient is the Indo-Dutch cooperation in putting innovation andtechnology to use to improve waste and water management: Swachh Bharat Abhiyanand the contribution that the Netherlands can make to the programme, will be included in the discussions. The Minister will visit Kerala, Karnataka (Bangalore) and will conclude his visit on 9 May in New Delhi.

The highlights of the visit include meetingswith the External Affairs Minister – Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Finance of Kerala- Dr. Thomas Isaac and the Minister for Large and Medium Industries of Karnataka- Mr. R.V. Deshpande.

Minister Koenders will start in Kerala, where Indo-Dutch relations started 400 years ago.He will be visiting the Dutch heritage sites and the Muziris heritage/Spice Route projectin Kerala on 7th Mayand discuss cooperation on the Alleppey Canal-system with Minister of Finance Dr. Isaac.

In Bangalore on 8th May, he will officially announce the upcoming opening of the new Netherlands Business SupportOffice, as a milestone step in increasing The Netherlands’ economic footprint in the South of India. Dutch businesses have increasingly set their sights on Bangalore. Aside from the major companies, innovative Dutch startups are also finding their feet in India’s Silicon Valley, an example of which will be visited by the Minister, i.e.‘Sweepsmart’ https://www.sweepsmart.org/, a company that aims to help rid India’s streets of garbagein a clean, efficient and financially sustainable manner. The Minister will also announce a subsidy of € 100.000 for the company.

In Delhi on 9th May, Mr. Koenders will meetwith his counterpart H.E. Ms. Sushma Swaraj. Among other things, they will discuss the positive cooperation on political and security matters including cyberspace, India’s accession to the weapon export control regimes and cooperation in the UN framework.They will also discuss the Dutch expertise on waste management and clean living environments.

Putting his words into practice, MinisterKoenderswill also unveil the foundation stone andgraffiti art project at the Barapullah drain, showcasing an Indo-Dutch pilot project on waste-water treatment. For this project, a consortium of Indian and Dutch scientists have teamed up to set up a water lab that will help develop innovative technologies to clean waste water in Delhi’s Barapullah drain for reuse in areas such as agriculture, industry and households. At the Barapullah drain, the Minister willalso present a unique DaanRoosegarde (https://www.studioroosegaarde.net/projects/#smog-free-project) jewelry gift, obtained from compressing the filtered smog particles from the smog towers to the Honorable Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences of India, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

Minister Koenders will also address a gathering ofbusiness professionals, students and diplomats, hosted bythe Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi on the theme “The Netherlands, your gateway to Europe”, where he will also touch upon the Indo-Dutch cooperation onglobal governance, in the UN and the innovation and technology sphere. He will conclude his visit by meeting with the winner of the Dutch Smart Cities Startup contest.

The Netherlands is currently collaborating with India on key sectors such as Agriculture, Life Sciences and Healthcare, Port and Logistics, Water and Maritime.The Netherlands consistently ranks among India’s top 10 trade partners, and is one of the top five investors in the country.It is the 3rdlargest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for India, accounting for 6 percent of total inflows into India in the last 15 years. In recent years the value of mutual trade has risen to more than six billion euros. The Netherlands is now already India’s gateway to Europe, with 20% of India’s exports to Europe entering Europe through the Netherlands and vice versa, a position that is expected to grow as a result of political and economic developments in both India and Europe. India is The Netherlands’ 5th largest source of FDI.

Minister Koenders’ visit will be followed up with a Trade Mission from the Netherlands from 19-23 June 2017 headed by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade, Mr. Marten van der Berg.