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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday received Belgium's King Phillipe ahead of bilateral discussions here. "PM @narendramodi receives His Majesty The King Philippe of Belgium at Hyderabad House on his 1st State visit to India," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. King Phillipe and Queen Mathilde arrived here on Sunday on a week-long state visit to India. This is the royal couple's first visit to India since King Phillipe's ascension to the throne in 2013.
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Later on Tuesday, President Ram Nath Kovind will hold a meeting with the King and Queen while Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will also call on the royal couple. Earlier in the day, the King and Queen were accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on the visiting dignitaries. India is Belgium's second largest export destination and third largest trade partner outside the European Union (EU). In 2016-17, bilateral trade amounted to $13.28 billion of which exports from India to Belgium accounted for $5.65 billion while imports from Belgium accounted for $6.62 billion.
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Modi visited Belgium in March 2016 at the invitation of his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel. This is the third state visit to India by the Belgian royalty, the earlier ones happening in 1970 and 2008. A Belgian King visits a country only once in the course of his reign.