India’s economic growth, which averages 7% a year, is impressive. Its share of global gross domestic product tripled from 2.5% in 1980 to 7.8% in 2018. The Indian economy is large and diverse, with sectors that include both traditional and modern agriculture, textiles and handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries and a multitude of services. India’s best known company is also its most diversified: Tata. This is India’s largest auto manufacturer, and it is also active in steel production, telecommunications, the hotel industry, consultancy, etc. It is currently expanding its operations outside of India and maintains interests in Belgium.

The Indian economy is driven mainly by domestic consumer spending, and in this way, it differs from other Asian economies that have pursued an export-oriented model. Due to the massive growth of the Indian middle class, this vast country could become Asia’s first major “consumer economy”. The Indian elephant might move slower than the Chinese dragon, but it will still manage to conquer the world at its own pace.

Flanders is centrally located in Western Europe, right in the middle of the most advanced and industrialised region between London, Paris, Amsterdam and the Ruhr region. It is one of Europe’s most heavily globalised regions and is distinguished by its high level of productivity. Flanders accounts for 60% of Belgian GDP and 80% of the country’s exports. Economic relations between Flanders and India are growing. India is ranked among Flanders’ 10 most important export destinations. Precious gemstones and precious metals represent 80% of all Flemish exports to India. Conversely, Flanders imports mainly finished diamonds and other precious gemstones, mineral products, and chemical and pharmaceutical products from India.

Right in the centre of Belgium, Leuven is a medium-sized city that has all the hallmarks of a metropolis. International companies such as AB InBev (the largest brewer in the world), imec (the world-leading R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies) and Waterleau (one of the few global players offering a complete portfolio of water, air and waste processing and energy recovery applications) maintain significant commercial ties with India. With a combination of a rich culture and historical heritage in a vibrant city full of energy and creativity, Leuven can compete with the other historical cities of Flanders. Located just fifteen minutes from Brussels Airport and thirty minutes from Brussels - the capital of Europe and the seat of many international organisations - Leuven enjoys all the benefits of a capital city.

India House Leuven is seeking to promote economic relations between India and Leuven. Specifically, it is looking to encourage commercial ties and investments by establishing networks, by spreading information and knowledge, and by sharing experiences. Examples of this include lending support to Indian and Belgian companies in close cooperation with existing organisations such as the Leuven chapter of the Flanders Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Voka), Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) and the Belgo-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BICC&I). It is also seeking to promote travel and tourism because it is convinced that this can benefit not only mutual understanding, but economic development and employment as well.