King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have arrived for their State Visit in India. This year Belgium and India celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations.
This morning at 8:15 am local time, the King and Queen of the Belgians boarded their plane at the military airport of Melsbroek. There was a small military parade at the airport to officially see Their Majesties off. The King also inspected the troops before entering the plane. The King and Queen will stay in India for five days and have a busy schedule ahead. The first three days of their visit will take place in the capital of New Dehli, and their last days will be spent in Bombay.
It was already dark when the King and Queen arrived at the airport of New Dehli after a flight of seven hours. The Queen wore a creme coloured dress when she stepped out of the plane. Their Majesties were brought to their hotel after receiving a modest welcome. The big welcome ceremony will take place later during the visit. During the flight, the King and Queen took the time to talk to the business delegation that is travelling with them. The pair also took the time to speak to the press who is covering their visit.
The diplomatic visit includes a meeting with the President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan. The pair will be welcomed by the President and the Prime Minister. As on every State Visit, there will be a State Banquet at the Presidential Palace. The Indian Prime Minister seemed to be excited for the visit as he tweeted yesterday morning: “Looking forward to receiving and meeting Their Majesties the King and Queen of the Belgians. A warm welcome awaits you in India!”
The King and Queen are not travelling alone. They have a huge trade delegation of 172 people accompanying them. Representatives from several large Belgian firms will try to make deals with the Indian businessmen and women. Also, the rectors of the largest Belgian universities are heading to India where they will follow their own agenda. Of course, there are also several representatives from the different governments travelling along. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders and the State Secretary for Foreign Trade, Pieter De Crem, are accompanied by the Minister-Presidents of the regional governments Geert Bourgeois, Willy Borsus and Rudi Vervoort.
Traditionally the King and Queen will also host an event for their hosts. “Scala & Kolacny Brothers”, a famous Belgian choir will perform for Their Majesties and their Indian hosts. The King and Queen have a very close bond with the choir as Queen Mathilde visited their 20th-anniversary concert in 2016. The music of Scala has also been used in several famous television series such as Downton Abbey, Homeland and even The Simpsons. In the video below you can have a taste of “Scala & Kolacny Brothers”. Furthermore, a Belgian dance company will also perform Bollylicious, a kind of dance typical in Bollywood. For more details on the State Visit click here.