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New Delhi, March 12

THE Crown Prince of Belgium, Prince Philippe is to begin a week-long visit to India from March 13. The Crown Prince, who is to meet with the President, Mr A.P.J Abdul Kalam and the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, will be accompanied by senior government officials including the Minister for Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade and Scientific Politics.

A 250-member strong delegation that includes high-level officials from the federal and regional governments and representatives of 126 Belgian companies from key sectors of the Belgian economy will accompany the Crown Prince.

The Crown Prince will also visit Bangalore and Mumbai, where he will have meetings with State Government officials and interact with trade and industry. The programme in Bangalore includes not only a Joint Business luncheon meeting organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry but also visits to HAL, ISRO and a number of meetings with private companies.

Belgium is India's second largest trade partner in the European Union with a total trade turnover estimated to be Euro 6 billion during 2004. Gems and jewellery account for nearly 75 per cent of the total trade. There are nearly 230 Belgian joint ventures in India covering diverse areas such as IT, energy, ports, construction, banking and finance, chemicals and fertilisers among others.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 13, 2005)
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