India and the Netherlands share a strategic partnership focusing particularly on water management
The 12th session of the India-Netherlands Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) marked a significant step in advancing the bilateral relations between the two nations. 

The consultations, held in The Hague on May 2, 2024, served as a platform to assess the progress since the last FOC held in New Delhi in December 2022. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the considerable progress achieved in various areas and discussed an ambitious future agenda. The priority sectors identified include Water, Agriculture & Health (collectively known as the WAH agenda), Science & Technology, and High-tech & Innovation.

A key outcome of this year’s FOC was the mutual agreement to enhance cooperation in cutting-edge fields such as semiconductors and green hydrogen. These sectors are recognized as crucial for the future economic landscape, and both countries are eager to elevate their collaboration to new heights. 

The discussions also underscored the successful economic relationship, noting the inaugural meeting of the Fast Track Mechanism for Indian companies in the Netherlands as a significant development for enhancing business-to-business relations. Furthermore, the presence of a large Indian community in the Netherlands was acknowledged as a vital link enriching the local economy and fostering extensive cultural exchanges.

This meeting saw Pavan Kapoor, Secretary (West) of the Ministry of External Affairs from India, and Paul Hujits, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Netherlands, leading their respective delegations.

Engagements Beyond the Consultations

In addition to the FOC, Secretary Kapoor’s visit included several engagements that highlighted the deep-rooted collaboration between the two nations. He visited the Technical University of Delft, engaging with faculty and Indian students, which underscored the vibrant partnership in education and technology. His visit to the Peace Palace and meetings with key figures at the International Court of Justice further emphasized the importance of international law and justice in bilateral relations.

India and the Netherlands share a strategic partnership focusing particularly on water management, reflecting a long-standing cooperation that includes knowledge exchange in flood management and clean water technologies. The regular political and official bilateral visits have strengthened this bond, with the Netherlands participating as a guest country at the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September 2023.

The mechanism of Foreign Office Consultations has been a cornerstone of diplomatic engagement between India and the Netherlands since its resumption in 2014. These meetings have been crucial for discussing wide-ranging aspects of the bilateral relationship. Notably, the Netherlands ranks prominently in India’s trade and investment landscape, being one of the top investors and trading partners in Europe.

The 12th India-Netherlands FOC has not only reviewed the successes of past engagements but also set a proactive agenda for future cooperation. With a focus on innovation and technology, the two nations are poised to embark on new ventures that promise to bring substantial economic and societal benefits. This meeting reaffirms the shared values and aspirations of India and the Netherlands, promising an exciting future for their bilateral relations.