Current context: 

Defence minister of India and Netherlands Defence Minister Ms Kajsa Ollongren discussed expanding bilateral defence cooperation, particularly in maritime and industrial domains, to enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.

About current context:

  • Raksha Mantri suggests Dutch OEM manufacturers should integrate Indian vendors into their supply chains, recognizing India’s innovation and industrial ecosystem, and promoting more interactions between defence and high-tech sectors.

History India Netherlands bilateral cooperation

Early Beginnings:

  • India-Netherlands relations originated in the early 17th century, around 1605, when the Dutch first entered the Mughal Empire for trading purposes.
  • Dutch merchants from the Dutch East India Company established themselves in various regions of India, including Dutch Coromandel, Dutch Suratte, and Dutch Bengal.
  • The Dutch remained in the Indian subcontinent until 1825, engaging in trade and exchanging textiles for spices and other valuable commodities.

Trade and Commerce:

  • Dutch India experienced a thriving trade network involving precious stones, indigo, silk, saltpeter, opium, and pepper.
  • During this period, Indian slaves were even imported to the Maluku Islands and the Cape Colony.

Shifts and Challenges:

  • In the 18th century, Dutch influence declined due to the Battle of Colachel in 1741, leading to their decline in Malabar. Dutch Coromandel and Bengal were briefly restored to Dutch rule, but eventually returned to British control.

Modern Era:

  • Established in 1947, India and the Netherlands have maintained diplomatic relations marked by friendship, economic cooperation, and a strong focus on commerce.
  • The Netherlands is keen on India’s economic growth, market size, and skilled workforce, and this relationship is being strengthened through high-level exchanges and cooperation across various sectors.

some key aspects of their collaboration:

Defence Cooperation:

  • Both ministers discussed enhancing defence cooperation in maritime and industrial sectors, acknowledging growing naval interaction and committing to bolstering maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Minister Singh proposes encouraging Dutch OEMs to incorporate Indian vendors into their supply chains, aiming to capitalize on India’s innovative and industrial ecosystem.
  • The synergies between the Indian and Dutch economies in terms of skills, technology, and scale were highlighted.
  • Both parties agreed to foster greater collaboration between their defence industries, emphasizing high-tech sectors such as semi-conductors and clean energy.

Strategic Partnership:

  • India and the Netherlands are preparing for a bilateral meeting to deepen their strategic partnership and explore new cooperation opportunities.
  • The Netherlands Defence Minister’s presence at the Raisina Dialogue highlights the significance of multilateral forums for global challenges and shared interests.
  • Discussions between Minister Singh and Minister Ollongren reflect the growing significance of maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.

Potential Benefits:

  • Dutch OEMs and Indian vendors are collaborating to enhance defence manufacturing capabilities, leverage India’s skilled workforce, and access advanced technologies and global markets.


the bilateral meeting between India and the Netherlands marks a significant step towards deepening defence cooperation and fostering strategic partnerships in key sectors. As both countries continue to engage in dialogue and exchange expertise, they are poised to contribute positively to regional security and economic prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region1

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