Brussels Airlines will start operating direct flights from Brussels to India by March 2017, said a top Belgian official, adding that the year 2017 would also witness an increase in cooperation between the two countries.

"The next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between our two countries. To befittingly celebrate this occassion, 2017 will see a State visit by Belgian King Philippe to India, bringing with him a substantial trade delegation," Dr. Bart De Groof, Consul General, Kingdom of Belgium, said.


He was speaking at an event to celebrate the Belgian King's Day, 2016, here on Friday.

The beginning of 2017 will bring a visit by a Vice Prime Minister and Secretary of Foreign Trade to India, he said.

Mr. Groof noted that there were 50 Belgian companies operating in South India and about 80 Indian companies in Belgium.

The trade between the two countries is around 12 billion Euros, making Belgium one of the major trade partners of India in Europe, he said.

The consul general said Belgium was keeping a keen eye on the possibilities offered by India's initiatives such as smart cities, cleaning of rivers, development of inland waterways and the renewable energy platform.

Source: The Hindu