After UK and Germany, Belgium ready to engage with Modi

Published: 03rd June 2013 07:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2013 09:11 PM   |  A+A-

modi_finger
By PTI

After UK and Germany, another European nation--Belgium--on Monday said that it is ready to engage with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

"We are very willing to interact with him (Modi) at the first given opportunity and would like to take forward business relations. Would also say that everybody is welcome to Europe," Belgium Consul general to Mumbai Karl Van den Bossche told reporters here on a question about Modi.

"EU is positive and constructive about reaching out to Gujarat and is also willing to engage with the chief minister," Van den Bossche said after opening a Belgium visa application centre here.

Belgium, which has rich business ties with Gujarat due to two-way diamond trade, opened its visa application centre in the city here today.

"But we are also for the balanced view and justice be done by way of the courts for those incidents," he said apparently indicating to the 2002 riots.

European Union had halted diplomatic relations with Gujarat after the 2002 post-Godhra riots in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

However, in October last year, UK became the first EU country to engage with Gujarat chief minister, lifting the 10 year diplomatic boycott. Later, after the Gujarat elections Germany and some other EU states also softened their stand on Modi.

Gujarat's relation with Belgium is robust due to the diamond trade, as out of the two-way yearly trade of 13 million Euros between India and that country, 80 per cent is due to diamonds.

"In 2012 we received well over 5,000 visa applications from Gujarat. The ties between Belgium and Gujarat are particularly strong mainly thanks to diamond trade but also more and more other sectors. Moreover a few thousand Gujaratis have made Belgium and specifically Antwerp their home," the consul general said.

"Next step in our focus on India is the opening of Consulate General in Chennai," he added.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp