Toespraak van Koning Willem-Alexander bij de India Tech Summit, New Delhi

Deze toespraak is uitgesproken in het Engels

Ministers, Director-General,

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The Netherlands is proud to be your partner country this year at the 25th Technology Summit. For my wife and me, it adds an extra dimension to our State visit to India this week.

It’s great that the partnership between our knowledge economies is in the spotlight. And it’s fantastic that you’re all here today to celebrate that partnership and make it even stronger.

I’d like to thank Prime Minister Modi and the Government of India for their involvement. We feel very welcome here!

This Technology Summit is inspired by the quest for successful innovation.

But how does successful innovation actually come about?

What’s the secret?

It’s a simple question… But the answer is not so straightforward.

Innovation is not just a matter of introducing cutting-edge technology.

After all, it is people who will be living and working with that technology, in their local communities.

Nor is innovation a zero-sum game, with a winner on one side and a loser on the other.

And innovation certainly doesn’t benefit from those who think they know it all.

What I find so special about the partnership between India and the Netherlands is that we both have a clear idea of what innovation really is.

Innovation is about co-creation. Innovation is about bringing together international knowledge and expertise to help tackle social issues that affect us all. Like climate change, sustainable food production and affordable, good-quality healthcare.

The path to solutions starts with empathy, curiosity and the ability to listen.

With respect for each other’s knowledge, traditions and culture. There are no ‘standard’ solutions. Innovation is a product of human effort.

That’s why it’s so important to invest in a long-term relationship with partners you can trust. Partners who can add value to your assets.

For the Netherlands, India is such a partner.

One of India’s most striking features is its amazing energy. You can almost feel it. It’s incredible how quickly this country has developed into a global player that is leading the way in information technology and research.

Thousands of Indian scientists, IT professionals, entrepreneurs and students are also active in the Netherlands. And we’re delighted to have them! Two weeks ago my wife and I met many of them at a seminar in Amsterdam reflecting on the ties between our two countries.

What makes India extra special is its immense scale, its population of 1.3 billion people. Moreover, India has shown that innovation doesn’t always have to be expensive.

Take healthcare, for example. We admire the solutions it has come up with to promote the health of millions at affordable cost.

We can learn a great deal from India. But conversely, the Netherlands has expertise that could be useful here. I’d like to mention three elements today.

First, our extensive knowledge in the fields of agriculture, water and climate action.

In terms of surface area, the Netherlands is smaller than Punjab, yet we are the second-largest agricultural exporter in the world. And water knowledge is in our DNA.

After all, our country wouldn’t even exist without water management.

We’ve been building our know-how for a thousand years, and in this age of climate change it has proven its worth all over the globe. Including here, in India. In some places, like in Kerala, we have seen terrible floods. In other places, like in Haryana, awful droughts.

In both these cases, Dutch knowledge could be useful to local communities and entrepreneurs.

The second element that typifies the

Dutch approach is the way we find synergies. By making smart connections between disciplines, you can double your impact.

Waste processing and energy generation can go hand in hand.

So can water security and nature protection.

And urban development and sustainability.

The third and final element I’d like to mention is the Dutch tradition of public-private partnership.

Innovation doesn’t always come from government offices, science labs and tech hubs. Just as often it comes from local communities, farmers, family businesses, hospitals, civil society and driven individuals.

Government, the business sector, academia, and ordinary individuals are all working on solutions! The trick is to bring all these positive forces together.

Ladies and gentlemen, India and the Netherlands complement each other extremely well and have the potential to make each other even stronger. We make a great team.

My wife and I saw that yesterday when we visited the Indian-Dutch water laboratory at the Barapullah Drain. There, Indian and Dutch water experts have succeeded in making the drain cleaner. In fact, they’re now working to make the wastewater suitable for healthy re-use!

And that’s just one of many examples.

I hope that today and tomorrow you will all have a chance to get to know each other better, and together lay the foundations for many more new innovations that will enhance the lives of people in India and the Netherlands.

For ten years now, India and the Netherlands have been close partners in innovation. My compatriots and I hope that this will long continue!

Thank you.