The Dutch Prime Minister’s visit to India will go a long way in creating awareness about the Indian defence market and available opportunities for the Dutch defence industries.
Though the Netherlands defence industry has a robust technology base, their penetration in the Indian defence market is not very significant and hence relatively new to India. The visit of the Prime Minister Mark Rutte to India, from June 4 to 5 provided an opportunity to introduce the Netherlands defence industry to India.
During the bilateral talks with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr.Rutte committed his support to involve his country’s defence industry in India under the ‘Make in India’ programme. As a first step, an agreement on manufacturing of dredgers in India’s Cochin Shipyard was signed which will help in developing Indian shipyards, both civilian and defence. The Dutch Prime Minister’s visit to India will go a long way in creating awareness about the Indian defence market and available opportunities for the Dutch defence industries. The Indian defence market is likely to be around US$ 250 billion during the next ten years, as stated by the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar a few days ago.
The bilateral engagement in the defence sector will pave the way for wider cooperation in security issues. For example, when Mr. Rutte declared his support for permanent membership of the UNSC for India, Prime Minister Modi also committed India’s support for Dutch candidature for non-permanent member of the UNSC during 2017-18.
There are a few sectors in which the Netherlands defence industry has left its imprint on India. For example, the Thales Netherlands has made a huge mark in Indian market with its radar technologies. The Indian armed forces have also ordered hydraulics and communication system from the country.
The Netherlands naval maritime industry is considered very advanced, which has a very large share in supplies to the NATO forces, but with dwindling defence budgets of the NATO partners, the Dutch are looking for new markets. The Dutch hope to see areas of collaboration widen and strengthen in the coming years in India in defence and maritime security.
Hence, it was natural for the two Prime Ministers to state in the joint communique issued after the talks, “Recognizing the increasingly globalized nature of threats and challenges and the shared stakes in each other's security, the Prime Ministers agreed to expand security and defence cooperation between India and the Netherlands.” Both the Prime Ministers welcomed the possibility of Dutch participation in India's 'Make in India' initiative in the defence sector. Netherlands and India already have deep cooperation in the economic field. The Dutch are the fifth largest source of investment in India and similar is the case for Indian investors in the Netherlands, who are also the fifth largest investment source.
The bilateral engagement in the defence sector will pave the way for wider cooperation in security issues. For example, when Mr. Rutte declared his support for permanent membership of the UNSC for India, Prime Minister Modi also committed India’s support for Dutch candidature for non-permanent member of the UNSC during 2017-18. The Dutch also committed to support Indian claim for non-permanent member in the UNSC during 2021-22.
Both sides also decided to set up a joint working group on counter—terrorism, for which the first meeting has been fixed on June 19. Mr. Narendra Modi rightly said to Mr Rutte , “Your visit has set the stage to take our ties to the next level and realise the full potential of our relationship. Mr. Rutte responded, “right now our trade is at six billion Euros and over 200 Dutch companies are already working in India, but we are looking at possibilities in other areas.”
After the talks with Mr. Modi and Mr. Rutte talked about the bilateral security cooperation, “we have the experience in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq. India has experience in fighting terrorism as well. We will exchange information on how to deal with terror and share our experiences.”