Remarks By the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind at the Banquet Hosted in Honour of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima oF the Netherlands


. I extend a very warm and special welcome to Your Majesties and the distinguished members of your delegation to India. Your Majesties, India is not new to you. We have had the honour to host you in Rashtrapati Bhavan in the past.  But today is a very special day. You are on your first State Visit to India. We are truly delighted to have you with us.

2. India-Netherlands relations are warm and enduring. Our shared democratic values and respect for diversity continue to embellish our conversation and our collaboration. In our endeavours, we connect with each other in one and several ways at the same time. That is the beauty and the depth of our ties.  In a few weeks from now, we will be celebrating Diwali, the festival of light, in India and with equal joy in the Netherlands. And just few days ago, we together celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. I thank you and your people for nurturing his legacy and his universal values.

3. Our cultural understanding and centuries-old interaction make our partnership that much more meaningful. From the Malabar Coast to the Coromandal and beyond, we have deep imprint of Dutch heritage and history among us. The splendid murals in Kochi and the authoritative Dutch memoirs of the Malabar speak of our deep intellectual engagement. Swami Vivekananda, the great Indian philosopher visited Amsterdam in 1896. Some of his earliest disciples were Dutchmen and the emblem of the Ramakrishna Mission founded by him was developed on his guidance by the illustrious Dutch-American personality Henry Van Haagen. We take pride that Rembrandt, the greatest of all Dutch artists, was influenced in his work by many things Indian. The exhibition during your visit on this global icon would testify how deeply we appreciate him and his works.

4. Your Majesty, on the strong foundation of our historic ties, we have created a contemporary partnership driven by innovation, investment and technology. Smart Solutions, Smart Cities, green energy, start-ups and new-age products are bringing us together. We are excited to share and learn from you on river rejuvenation, from the Barapullah to the Yamuna, from Jal Jeevan Mission to Namami Gange, and further downstream.

5. Your Majesty, our economic partnership has created new opportunities for our peoples, from jobs, lifestyle choices to food. The vegetables that you savour today has been grown with green Indian fingers trained at the Indo-Dutch Centre of Excellence in Baramati. We are truly privileged that our journey together, has, indeed, been a journey of our people together. The Netherlands today is home to the largest Indian community on mainland Europe. The Surinami-Hindustani community in the Netherlands shares a strong cultural bond with India. The growing Indian student and professional community in your country is making our cultural knot stronger and our technology partnership deeper. We eagerly look forward to the inauguration of the Technology Summit tomorrow, and to drawing upon its success subsequently.

6. Your Majesties, each year, we have tulips bloom in Rashtrapati Bhavan. But this year, they will be very special, for they will carry the memories of your visit and the warmth of our friendship. May our ties blossom forever.

7. With these words, I once again welcome Your Majesties to India and wish you a memorable stay

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