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Published on : Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Union Minister of Shipping Shri G.K. Vasan has said that the Indian government is making continuous efforts to attract investments in the ports sector for the augmentation of Indian tonnage. He was speaking at a meeting with a high level Belgian delegation in Mumbai today. Over 300 member delegation comprises Her Royal Highness, Princess Astrid of Belgium; the Federal Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Didier Reynders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs among others.
The minister pointed out that within the European Union; Belgium is India’s 2nd largest trading partner with more than 150 Belgian companies in India with interests in dredging, chemicals, engineering goods, electronics and software etc. In the maritime sector, India and Belgium have signed a MoU in 1997 which is now extended up to 2015. Every year, Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Centre (APEC) has been training many Indian Maritime officials on Port Management, Inland Waterways Transport, Dredging Technology, and a host of other issues.
The two countries also have sister Port Agreements for sharing of information on port infrastructure development and operation and service improvement. Presently, Chennai Port with Port of Zeebrugge and JN Port and Mumbai Port with Antwerp Port Authority have sister port agreements.
Shri Vasan said that he had visited the Port of Antwerp in April 2012 and again visited Belgium along with President of India during October 2013. The minister said that there are several bilateral treaties and Agreements between the two countries and business relations between Belgium and India are flourishing.
Later in the day, Shri Vasan speaking at an inaugural ceremony of an exhibition titled ‘Masterpieces of Antwerp’ from the 17th Century, said that it is appropriate that the beautiful city of Mumbai should play a host to this exhibition concerning Antwerp, both being historical port cities. I am sure that the exhibition will build a bridge not only between the two cities but also between Belgium and India, the minister added.