Belgium is looking at investment in India’s lagging infrastructure and deepening trade ties between two countries. Visiting deputy prime minister of Belgium Didier Reyneders said at a gathering of industrialists in New Delhi that his country would invest in water, waste treatment, renewable energy, life sciences and hospital sectors. India’s infrastructure needs huge investment in next 10 years. According to an estimate India’s infrastructure needs $1 trillion in the 12th five year plan (2012-17).
“Healthcare sector is very advanced in Belgium. We can provide expertise in designing, construction and management of hospitals, both in the public and private sectors,” said Reyneders at the function organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) on Friday.
Underlying the importance of investment in agriculture and related sectors in India, he also stressed on developing cold chain technology. “We are excited to work with India in this respect,” he added who is also the foreign minister of Belgium.
"Also Europe remains a hub for innovation and research. We look forward to develop our cooperation with India in the field of new technologies and scientific applications,” he pointed out.
During his visit Indian railways also signed an agreement with Belgium on its modernisation plans and developing world-class railway stations in 50 different cities like New Delhi, Howrah, Mumbai, Patna, Bhubaneswar and Chennai.
Reyneders also said that his country is gateway to the European Union and 10th most important trade partner of India.
He pitched for an early conclusion of the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to take two-way trade and investment flows to the next level. "We do not ask for unilateral concessions from India. We only seek lower tariffs so that tangible progress can be made in trade services," said Reynders.
However, he sought to downplay the Euro crisis and added that trade relations between India and the European Union have increased. “The present imbalances could be managed easily if there is a perspective on a workable endgame. This would help instill confidence and trust that is essential in matters related to money and financial markets.”
Reynders suggested that a single currency with 17 countries makes it easier for exchanges with the member countries that are among your most prominent trade partners. "A financial context where we enjoy a single and stable currency for these European partners can only favour such cooperation in the future," he added.