Amsterdam: King of Netherlands Willem Alexander on Tuesday hosted a State Banquet in Honour of President Ram Nath Kovind and the First Lady Savita Kovind at Royal Palace Amsterdam.

President Ram Nath Kovind in his speech during the state banquet thanked the Netherlands King for the cordial welcome and warm hospitality. "I am deeply touched by the kind reception accorded to me and to my delegation," President Kovind said in his banquet speech.

"This year marks a milestone in our bilateral journey as we are jointly celebrating the 75th anniversary of our diplomatic relations that reflects the depth of India-Netherlands partnership," he added.

President Kovind said that this year, India is also celebrating 75 years of its independence and reminded how the Netherlands was among the first nations to recognize independent India. "After seven decades, it remains one of the foremost reliable partners of India."

"It is my pleasure to be here in your beautiful country, the land of tulips; the birthplace of famous painters, scholars and explorers; and a fulcrum of modern trade and commerce. As the saying goes, 'God made the world and the Dutch made the Netherlands'. The unique ability of the Dutch to plan and prepare for future challenges as reflected in your motto of 'Meten is Weten' is worthy of high praise," he said.

Ram Nath Kovind further said that as two thriving democracies and two economic giants, India and the Netherlands are natural partners. We share a common outlook on multilateral solutions to global challenges. "Pluralism, inclusiveness, respect for cultural diversity and rule of law are a part of our common ethos."

"The Netherlands is an important player in the Indo-Pacific and EU. As key advocates for a free and open Indo-Pacific, we share a common commitment to work for global peace, security and prosperity. The Netherlands can also play a pivotal role in strengthening India-EU ties in areas of connectivity, energy transition and trade & investment," President said.

President, in his speech, said that the history of India-Netherlands relations dates back more than four centuries. "While the paintings of Rembrandt show the creative influence of Indian miniature art, Marius Bauer captured impressions of India in his paintings. Professor Hendrik Kern one of the leading Indologists in the Netherlands taught Sanskrit to Dutch students in the mid-nineteenth century. Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda and Jiddu Krishnamurti were hosted by the Dutch with great enthusiasm and have inspired many."

"In recent years, we have witnessed strong momentum in our bilateral relations. We were honoured to receive Your Majesties in India in 2019. I recall our discussions covering diverse areas of cooperation," he further said.

President Kovind appreciated the role of the Netherlands, especially in bilateral cooperation.

He said that the bilateral cooperation between the two countries is extensive and diverse, covering trade and investment; science and technology; water, agriculture and health; renewable energy and space, among others. "Robust trade and investments form the bedrock of our bilateral relations. Dutch companies have long been household a name in India. With an investment of USD 38 billion, the Netherlands has consistently been among the largest investors in India."

President also thanked the Netherlands for its solidarity with India during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Our mutual support during the pandemic has highlighted the synergy in the area of healthcare and has shown that we can partner to develop and produce vaccines for the world."

"Today, the Netherlands is home to the largest Indian diaspora in mainland Europe. They form a living bridge between our countries and include the Surinami-Hindustani community that represents a unique synthesis of Indian traditions and Dutch values. It includes professionals as well as Indian students who are making a positive contribution to the Dutch economy and society," he added.

President said that he is confident that strong bonds of friendship and multifaceted partnership between the two countries will continue to flourish. "I thank the Dutch leadership for devoting personal attention to strengthening our partnership. Together we can achieve common goals."

President Kovind is on a three-day visit to the Netherlands at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. This is the first presidential visit to the Netherlands in 34 years since the visit of President R Venkataraman in 1988.