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India – Netherlands bilateral relations

India – Netherlands bilateral relations


India–Netherlands relations refer to foreign relations between India and the Netherlands. India maintains an embassy in The Hague, Netherlands and the Netherlands maintains an embassy in New Delhi and a consulate general in Mumbai. Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1947.


The India–Netherlands relations date back to the early 17th century as far as 1605 when the Dutch entered the Mughal Empire for trading purposes. Dutch presence on the Indian subcontinent lasted from 1605 to 1825. Merchants of the Dutch East India Company first established themselves in Dutch Coromandel, notably Pulicat, as they were looking for textiles to exchange with the spices they traded in the East Indies.

Dutch Suratte and Dutch Bengal succeeded in 1616 and 1627 respectively. After the Dutch conquered Ceylon from the Portuguese in 1656, they took the Portuguese forts on the Malabar Coast five years later as well, to secure Ceylon from Portuguese invasion.

Apart from textiles, the items traded in Dutch India include precious stones, indigo, and silk across India, saltpeter and opium in Dutch Bengal, and pepper in Dutch Malabar. Indian slaves were imported on the Maluku Islands and in the Cape Colony.

In the second half of the eighteenth century the Dutch lost their influence more and more. The Kew Letters relinquished all Dutch colonies to the British, to prevent them from being overrun by the French. In the Battle of Colachel (1741), Travancore king Marthanda Varma’s army defeated the Dutch East India Company, resulting in the complete eclipse of Dutch power in Malabar. Although Dutch Coromandel and Dutch Bengal were restored to Dutch rule by virtue of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, they returned to British rule owing to the provisions of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.

Under the terms of the treaty, all transfers of property and establishments were to take place on 1 March 1825. By the middle of 1825, therefore, the Dutch had lost their last trading posts in India. Nevertheless, remains of the Dutch period can be found from Surat to Kolkata as well as in other parts of India.

State Visits

In June 2015, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made an official visit to New Delhi where he held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In June 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the Netherlands on the final leg of his three-nation tour during which he held talks with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte to strengthen bilateral ties.

In May 2018, Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrived in New Delhi for a 2-day official visit with various ministers from his cabinet to discuss about various issues.

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