In the wake of Brexit and in the present political landscape in Europe, the Netherlands seeks to become a leading voice on free trade and economic policies that will make the whole of Europe competitive again.
Carnegie India, in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands in India, hosted a public address by Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands. Prime Minister Rutte’s address focused on renewing India’s partnership with the Netherlands and the European Union. His remarks can be read here
Prime Minister Rutte’s address was followed by a discussion with Rakesh Bharti Mittal, the president of the Confederation of Indian Industries. The discussion was moderated by Indrani Bagchi, diplomatic editor for the Times of India.

Discussion Highlights

  • Historical Ties: Prime Minister Rutte highlighted centuries of trade and cultural links between India and the Netherlands. He noted that the historical ties between both nations opened India up to global trade and business. Prime Minister Rutte believed that both India and the Netherlands were now at the point of reviving and enriching their bilateral relationship. He noted that in the last few years, there have been many high-level visits, cultural exchange programs, and economic initiatives that have contributed to the strong bilateral relationship.
  • India-EU Relationship: Prime Minister Rutte emphasized that in an increasingly globalized world, India’s growing economy has a lot to offer to the Netherlands and the EU. He stated that in the post-Brexit era, the EU, and particularly the Netherlands, is focused on establishing a strong economic relationship with India. Prime Minister Rutte also highlighted that as two important maritime nations, India and the Netherlands recognize the importance of free trade and are committed to further strengthening not only their bilateral partnership, but also enhancing the India-EU relationship. 
  • India and the Netherlands: Prime Minister Rutte noted that India and the Netherlands are natural partners with the same objectives: They share fundamental values of democracy, strong institutions as well as free, open, and fair world trade. He further stressed the need for India and Netherlands to take an active role in advocating for a comprehensive and ambitious free trade and investment agreement between India and the EU. Prime Minister Rutte also emphasized the importance of working together to achieve much more in areas like security and sustainability. India and the Netherlands are committed to preventing and combating terrorism, radicalization, and violent extremism, which threaten both India and Europe.   
  • Cooperation on Climate Change: Prime Minister Rutte acknowledged the steps India and the Netherlands have taken to maintain peace, security, and prosperity by combating climate change. India and the Netherlands are committed to working on areas like waste management, waste water treatment, biodiversity, and renewable energy, he stated. Prime Minister Rutte explained that apart from increasing their regional roles, India and the Netherlands are focused on creating a more holistic and inclusive global environment by promoting a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific. He stated that India and Netherlands are natural partners on the path to a secure, prosperous, and sustainable future.
This event summary was prepared by Rhea Menon, an intern at Carnegie India.