India's Digital & Urban Transformation through Belgian Collaboration
January 2018

India’s Digital & Urban Transformation through Belgian Collaboration

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Jan Luykx, Ambassador of Belgium to India“Belgium has signed several Memoranda of Understanding with India in important fields such as Renewable Energy and ICT. They open avenues of bilateral cooperation and enable Belgian organisations and companies to provide their solutions in these and other areas in India,” tells Jan Luykx, Ambassador of Belgium to India, in a special interview with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).

What is the mandate of Embassy of Belgium in New Delhi, India?
The mandate of the Embassy of Belgium in New Delhi is to represent Belgium in India. I represent His Majesty the King of the Belgians to the Republic of India. The Embassy’s role is to promote bilateral relations with India in all fields and to further Belgian interests in the country through enhanced economic, social and cultural cooperation with Indian partners.

India and Belgium have shared over 70 years of friendship wherein a lot of collaborations between the two countries have taken place. What are the recent projects undertaken by the Belgium Government or companies in India?
Belgium companies and organizations are actively interested in participating in the flagship programmes of the Government of India, as they can offer real solutions for them, such as smart technologies, green technologies, clean energy, and solar power. One organization, for example, VITO, is involved i.a. in projects related to wastewater treatment. DEME is a company involved in the sector of offshore wind energy. Similarly, we have several small players in India who are providing specific technologies such as for example Tiger Power which deploys solar energy installations in isolated locations that are not on the grid.

What is your opinion on various projects implemented by the current Government of India?
The objectives of each of these programmes have been laid out very clearly. Their aim is to bring the development of India to the next level. ‘Digital India’, for instance, aims to digitally develop India and create more access to digital solutions for a greater number of people. ‘Clean Ganga’, aims to clean the Ganga water basin, to protect the environment i.a. by cleaning the wastewater of the cities so the water can be sustainably used. Belgium and India along with all other countries are involved in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A lot of Indian Government projects fit perfectly into the SDGs.

What expectations does the Belgium Government have from Indian Government in terms of ensuring progress for both countries?
Belgium has signed several Memoranda of Understanding with India in important fields such as Renewable Energy and ICT. They open avenues of bilateral cooperation and enable Belgian organizations and companies to provide their solutions in these and other areas in India.

How significant is it for Belgium and India to maintain ‘people to people’ connection?
It is very important. In fact, people to people connections are often more important than government to government, as motivation to do things together mostly starts at the level where people personally know each other. Whenever big events happen in India, we try to facilitate Belgian participation. We want our representatives to attend. Furthermore, one should not forget that thousands of Belgians – both tourists and business people – have already been visiting India for years.

What is your vision on the Indo- Belgium Friendship?
Our friendship is already very good and is getting better and better. In this interconnected world, cooperation between countries, societies and people will keep on increasing. This applies to people of both Belgium and India. I look forward to ever increasing and intensive interaction and cooperation between the two countries.

What message do you have for eGov magazine?
The Government of India is doing a lot of work for the development of the country. At the same time, it is an important task to spread the information inside and outside India. Keep up with the good work!

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