Monday, November 06, 2006

Belgian delegation in Bangalore

"Dear Elise,

From 1 to 7 November, the Secretary of State Vincent Van Quickenborne will make a trip to India (a.o. with the Prime Minister)… Cities visited are Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai… Maybe a meeting could be set up?"


Sure! The program and instructions were rapidly given and I was to meet the secretary of State for an informal talk at the Taj West End Hotel.

Most questions were related to my personal experience but quickly economics and societal issues were addressed. The next day, I also joined the Belgian delegation for the visit of Infosys during which a symbolic tree was planted.

Loved commuting in a traffic-free Bangalore as the roads had been blocked for us!

A few facts

-In 2004, Belgium was India’s second largest trade partner within the European Union with bilateral trade amounting to EUR 6.49 billion (75% coming from the diamond industry).

-Belgium is the 9th ranking investor nation in India. Belgium’s total investment approvals into India for the period 1991- 2004 touched a record figure of USD 1.2 billion.

-In 2001, there were about 7,000 Indians* residing in Belgium which represent 0.069% of the local population (2,109% in the UK, 0.042% in Germany and 0.002% in Poland). In addition, there were about 25,000 Indian children adopted by Belgian parents.

*Non resident Indian + Person of Indian Origin

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