Queen Beatrix began her official state visit to India this morning with a meeting with president Pratibha Patil at the presidential palace in Dehli.
The queen is accompanied by crown prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima. The queen, who last visited India on a state visit 21 years ago, later laid a wreath at the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
On Wednesday evening, the queen is expected to attend a trade meeting with Dutch and Indian business leaders. On Thursday, Willem Alexander and Máxima are due to discuss water issues and microcredit – both subjects close to their hearts – with Indian officials.
On Saturday the prince and princess will travel on to the mountain kingdom of Bhutan as queen Beatrix heads back to the Netherlands.
Foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen is also part of the Dutch delegation to India. Before leaving on the trip, he told MPs he would use the ocassion to raise the issue of child labour but would do so in an ‘appropriate’ way.
MPs had urged Verhagen to tackle the subject of child labour in the textile industry. Many of the garments made in this way are sold in the Netherlands.
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