November 2017 \ Cover Story \ DIPLOMATIC INTERVIEW
“Indo-Dutch relationship is booming like never before”

H.E. Mr Alphonsus Stoelinga, Ambassador of the Netherlands in India, whom we had put on our cover in April 2016, speaks to Editor Sayantan Chakravarty of India Empire on the booming business relationship between the two countries. At the India Empire Diplomatic Night held in April 2017, he was the recipient of a special award for strengthening ties between the North-Western European Region and India. He received the award from Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh

We understand that Business Missions from India to the Netherlands have gone up. We’re sure that the Embassy in Delhi has contributed significantly towards this. Your comments please…

That is indeed a very nice conclusion. Well, you know, the thing that I always say is that if you have such a connectivity increase, then of course travel and business will be enhanced. But the most important is, that airlines start flying between destinations, because there is heavy business going on, which makes sure that their planes will be full of passengers and cargo. Look at the Chinese, they create these corridors, OneBeltOneRoute. I say it is not necessary for governments to create corridors, because if the business is there, the corridor comes by itself. Nobody told Jet Airways to create these flights. They did it by themselves because the business was there, and they run very good business. On the business delegations you mention, we, of course, had the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the Netherlands in June. Our Prime Minister had visited in 2015. These visits are important and significantly leave their mark. During the meeting between the two Prime Ministers, the most important things discussed were on the subjects of water, agriculture and finance. In order to introduce Dutch technologies in India, you also need financing of those technologies. These were discussed. The meeting provided an enormous impetus to the ongoing relations. I can tell you that not only for travelers, but also for exports, the Netherlands is a hub for India in Europe. Twenty per cent of all your exports to Europe, enter Europe through the Netherlands. Also from the investment perspective, plenty of Indian companies see the Netherlands as an ideal location to set up their European headquarters and their European distribution base. Look at TATA Steel. They diminished their operations in Britain, they joined forces with a German company and will have their European headquarters in the Netherlands. The reason being that the Netherlands is the most ideal location in Europe from many aspects. Since Brexit was announced sometime in the middle of 2016, the number of Indian companies establishing themselves in the Netherlands is up more than 300 percent. The last thing investors want is uncertainty. The Netherlands presents the best alternative for Indian investors post-Brexit. Our government is setting targets on the number of Indian companies to attract to the Netherlands, the investment volume concerned and on the number of jobs to be created in the Netherlands in this way. It’s one of the reasons, we’ve opened a Consulate General in Bengaluru. In February 2017 I opened the Shell Technology Centre in that city. They have 2,000 engineers and the numbers will increase to 5,000. We are talking of engineers here, not workers. These are incredible figures, and yes, things are very much booming!

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