Belgian royal couple accorded ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were accorded ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Belgian Royal couple met with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries.
After the ceremonial reception, Belgium's King Philippe, said, "This (India) is a country we love very much, we have many friends here."
"I have been here many times, even came here for our honeymoon. This time it's a state visit. Hope to improve existing good contacts:," said King Philippe.
This is King Philippe's first state visit to India after his ascension to the throne in 2013. He is accompanied by a business delegation of nearly 90 people comprising CEOs of Belgian companies.
The Royal couple is on a seven-day visit to India with an aim of boosting overall cooperation between India and Belgium, with a focus on further ramping up trade and investment ties.
The royal couple was received at the airport by Union Urban Development Minister and former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri, according to an official of the Belgian Embassy. India is Belgium's second largest export destination and the third largest trading partner outside the European Union.
According to official data, in 2016-17, bilateral trade amounted to USD 13.28 billion of which exports from India to Belgium accounted for USD 5.65 billion while imports from Belgium accounted for USD 6.62 billion.
Belgian Royal couple
Belgian Royal couple King Philippe and Queen Mathilde during a ceremonial reception at Forecourt in Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday.PTI Photo
Bust of Mahatma Gandhi
Belgian Royal couple King Philippe with Queen Mathilde being presented with a bust of Mahatma Gandhi after they paid homage at Rajghat in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo
Floral tributes to Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi
Belgian Royal couple King Philippe with Queen Mathilde pays floral tributes at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, at Rajghat in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo
Guard of honour
Belgian King Philippe inspects a guard of honour during a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo
(With agency inputs)