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Sushma Swaraj discusses bilateral cooperation with Dutch counterpart

IANS | New Delhi |

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday held discussions on bilateral cooperation with her Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders.

"The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the upswing in bilateral relations in recent years. They also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest," said a Ministry of External Affairs statement.

"Economic ties between India and The Netherlands form the core of the bilateral relationship," it added.

Netherlands is India's 5th largest investment partner with an investment of $20.5 billion.

During the meeting, the two Ministers discussed the bilateral trade which stands at $6.3 billion in 2016, and agreed that it has potential to develop further.

Earlier during the day,External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay, said in a tweet, "Hosting a valued partner. EAM Sushma Swaraj and Bert Koenders, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, discuss bilateral cooperation."

Appreciating the participation of Dutch companies in India's flagship development programs like Swachh Bharat, Sushma Swaraj welcomed the efforts to enhance bilateral collaboration in water and waste management, renewable energy, Smart Cities, inland waterways, ports and shipping.

She also thanked the Netherlands for supporting India's accession to the various multilateral export control regimes including the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Koenders expressed strong support for India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

He appreciated Indian initiatives in addressing Climate Change through the International Solar Alliance (ISA), saying his country, the world leader in solar energy, is ready to support India in these initiatives.

They also discussed terrorism and reaffirmed to work together to fight "the menace in all its forms and manifestations".

India sought the support of Netherlands for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN.

As part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Netherlands is part of the ongoing joint project LOTUS (Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Re-use) to clean-up the Barapullah drain in Delhi and the DIWALI (Dutch-Indo Water Alliance Leadership Initiative) waste water project in Baroda.

Netherlands hosts the second largest Indian community in Europe.

The two countries are celebrating 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year.

Koenders, who arrived on May 7 on a four-day official visit, also announced the opening of the Consulate General in Bengaluru later this year.

Later during the day, he also addressed an event organised by industry body CII.