Belgian royal couple to begin India visit with Taj

Belgian royal couple to begin India visit with Taj

New Delhi, PTI: King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, who will arrive in India on Sunday, will begin their seven-day maiden state visit to the country with a trip to the Taj Mahal, the Belgian envoy here has said.

Belgian Ambassador to India Jan Luykx said this would be their "first state visit" to India after Philippe ascended the throne in 2013.

In 2010, Philippe had led a Belgian Trade Mission to the country, as the then Crown Prince.

The visit aims at enhancing bilateral ties, including in trade and other areas of cooperation, and will also mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The theme of the visit is innovative partnership for the 21st century.

According to the official Twitter handle of the Belgian mission here, the first state visit from that country was by King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola in 1970.

King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium had also paid a state visit to India in November 2008.

Incidentally, the royal couples in the preceding two visits had also toured the iconic Mughal-era monument in Agra, which is a Unesco world heritage site.

"The King and Queen will arrive in India on November 5 evening. They will then go to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The next leg of the visit would be in Delhi, where they would spend two days and finally the last two days in Mumbai.

"They (the couple) will leave on the morning of November 11," Luykx told PTI on the sidelines of an event last evening.

The King will meet President Ram Nath Kovind and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

King Philippe will also be accompanied by a business delegation of nearly 90 people comprising CEOs of Belgian companies. Chiefs of several academic institutions and members from the media would also accompany him during the visit.

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