After a successful cooperation under the International Urban Cooperation (IUC) programme, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, India, and Leuven in Belgium will be cooperating under the International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme. The bilateral meeting held on 17 February 2022 was attended by Mr Geert Robberechts, Director of India House-Leuven, and Mr Shishir Shrivastava, Additional Commissioner of Gwalior Municipal Corporation, along with the India team of IURC Asia & Australasia.
The participants took stock of the cooperation until now on cultural heritage and discussed the status of cooperation between the two cities, plans for exchange visits and ongoing preparation of the Urban Cooperation Action Plan (U-CAP). Heritage conservation was addressed to a great extent in the previous cooperation and Gwalior has made considerable progress on the renovation and adaptive reuse of heritage buildings as it also receives support from the Government of India Smart City Program, UNESCO and even some state government schemes. On that note, Leuven indicated an interest to cooperate on a different topic such as supporting an incubator to start-ups and small businesses in Gwalior. In response, Gwalior stated that while many start-ups are being supported as part of incubator activities in the city, their lack of global exposure is a hindrance to their growth, thereby making it a potential topic of cooperation. The two cities agreed to exchange information, discuss internally within their respective teams and get back for another bilateral meeting in March to finalise the topic of cooperation.