King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians are currently on a 5-day state visit to India. The two countries celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations. Day 3 started in a cloudy atmosphere as the air pollution in India was extremely bad that day. Several schools were closed, but King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were not stopped by the air conditions.
The day began early as Queen Mathilde had a working breakfast with the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders and several Indian companies and organisations. They discussed the importance of the 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development Goals. Their conversation also focussed on mental health. Her Majesty wore a yellow skirt and white blouse from Natan.
Then Her Majesty the Queen attended a network meeting with several Indian Tour Operators. The Indian Minister of Tourism welcomed her. The purpose of the meeting was to promote Belgium so that more Indians would come and visit the country.
Meanwhile, King Philippe had several meetings and conferences which were mostly focussed on the economic ties between Belgium and India. He met, among others, with the Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry and the Indian Minister of Food Processing Industries. The King also delivered a speech at the business forum on Indo-Belgian trade opportunities.
After an already packed morning, the couple had another engagement before lunch on the agenda. The king and Queen inaugurated the exhibition “India in Flanders Field”. The exhibition shows the shared World War I history of the two countries. Many Indians fought at the Belgium front during the war. Both also signed the guest book. Later this week, the expo will be open for visitors.
When it was finally time for lunch, the King had a Power lunch where he discussed global economic trends with several businessmen and representatives of important Indian firms. At the same time, Queen Mathilde had lunch with university representatives and high officials of the Belgian and Indian academic world. The topics that where discussed were research, innovation, technology, management, collaboration and exchange opportunities.
After lunch, Queen Mathilde visited the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). The goal of the organisation is to empower women and young girls. The Queen learned more about the project Plan-It Girls which aims to teach young women competencies, especially in terms of professional integration. Teachers, parents and children, as well as men, participate in the program to support women in their emancipation. The centre is located in one of the poorest areas of New Dehli. Queen Mathilde spontaneously went to greet the people who live there and talked with them.
In the evening, the King and Queen attended the reception hosted by the Belgian Embassy in India. The Belgian Ambassador to India Jan Luykx and his spouse Raka Singh hosted the King and Queen. They enjoyed the dance performance of Bollylicious Belgium- a Belgian dance ensemble that is inspired by Bollywood and choreographs beautiful dances to popular Hindi music. They also met with the designer of the Belgium Embassy in New Dehli, ending a very busy third day.