While stating that diamonds remain India’s historic link with Belgium, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited the key European nation’s business leaders to invest in India’s IT and infrastructure sectors.
“Diamonds are, of course, an old link between us. It provides employment to many in India,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a tweet quoting the Prime Minister.
Almost 84 per cent of the world’s rough diamonds pass through Antwerp and the Belgian city is today the world’s largest diamond trading centre with a turnover of over USD 54 billion. Indian traders own a large part of this diamond trade in Antwerp.
“Reflecting on the wide range of our engagements, PM says it is not just diamonds that can bring shine to our partnership!,” Swarup said in another tweet.
Modi also spoke on the various aspects of cooperation such as renewable energy, science and technology, space research, IT, tourism, biotechnology, shipping and ports.
“I feel that a progressive path to India-EU Trade and Investment Agreement can enable all to benefit from India’s strong economic growth,” the Prime Minister said as he invited Belgian corporates and businesses to explore opportunities in India, the world’s fastest growing economy.
Recalling India’s historic links with Belgium, the Prime Minister said, “We have ties of blood with Belgium. 100 years ago 130,000 soldiers from India fought in Belgium and 9,000 made the supreme sacrifice”.
Modi’s visit to Belgium comes days after the March 22 terror attack here in which at least 32 people were killed, including an Indian, Raghavendran Ganeshan, who was an Infosys employee from Bengaluru.
The 13th India-EU Summit is being held after a gap of four years. The last summit was held in New Delhi in 2012 and negotiations remained deadlocked over several key issues.