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Statement by President on the visit of the President of Portugal to India

February 14, 2020

Your Excellency President Marcello Rubelo De Souza,
Distinguished delegates,
Members of the media,

Boa tarde and Good evening.

1. Let me begin by saying how honoured we are to welcome you Mr. President on your first State Visit to India. I also commend you for your remarkable stewardship of Portugal’s robust democracy.

2. Mr. President, this is your first visit to India, but it is the fourth high level visit exchanged by our two countries during the last three years. And accompanying them, we have entered into a range of agreements in multiple fields. These have, indeed, given an unprecedented boost to our bilateral ties and taken our relations to a new high.

3. Today we have exchanged 14 agreements and understandings in the fields of maritime heritage, maritime transport and port development, migration and mobility, start-ups, Intellectual Property Rights, aerospace, nano-biotechnology, audio visual co-production, yoga, diplomatic training, scientific research and public-policy.

4. Our collaboration in the field of science and technology is making a new head way. I am delighted that Portugal will be our Partner Country at the Technology Summit 2020 to be held in Delhi later this year. Our Start-up collaboration is gaining speed. India looks forward to organizing a Youth Hackathon in September this year in Portugal. To add to our ongoing joint research projects, we are keen to establish new project partnerships in the fields of marine research, nano-technology and other cutting-edge scientific fields under the new Portugal-India 4 Million Euro Joint Research Fund.

5. Our bilateral economic ties are on the rise. In our discussions today, President Marcelo and I were happy to note that our bilateral trade has crossed a billion dollars. Two-way investments are also rising. We agreed to harness the full potential of bilateral engagement in sectors like infrastructure, blue economy, renewable energy, water and waste management, IT, tourism and hospitality. We are encouraged by the India-Portugal Automotive Round-table held yesterday. We eagerly look forward to the economic seminar to be held in Mumbai tomorrow.

6. We took positive note of our growing defence engagement and welcomed the convening of the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Defence yesterday. We look forward to B2B business tie-ups in the defence sector within the framework of Make In India initiative.

7. We welcomed the Joint Declaration on Mobility and Migration as a ‘win-win’ partnership that taps into India’s demographic dividend, while catering to Portugal’s need for a skilled workforce. Both of us agreed that the exchanges of women start-up entrepreneurs, hospitality institute students, IIT researchers and the three sister-city partnerships that have been finalized, will foster closer people-to-people ties. We took note of our close parliamentary relations and expressed happiness that the visiting parliamentarians from Portugal had meaningful discussions with their Indian counterparts.

8. I conveyed to President Marcelo how happy I was to learn that more than 10,000 students are practicing Yoga in 162 Portuguese schools. We hope that Yoga will soon become a part of the Portuguese school curriculum.

9. Building on our historical ties, I am happy that several agreements with a range of Goan institutions are going to be formalized during President Marcelo’s visit to Goa tomorrow.

10. Portugal-India global partnership envisions a strong multi-polar world order underpinned by enhanced multilateralism. We thank Portugal for its steadfast support for India’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. We also thank Portugal for its steadfast support in fighting terrorism. We fondly recall that the first India-EU Summit was held during the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union in the year 2000. India looks forward to deepening its engagement with the EU when Portugal takes over the Presidency once again next year.

11. We agreed that India and Portugal should join hands in developmental and commercial partnerships in third countries. In this context, President Marcelo welcomed India’s decision to apply for Associate Observer membership of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries [CPLP]. India looks forward to leveraging its shared lusophone ties in Africa and Latin America through the CPLP platform.

12. Mr. President, we are confident that your visit will lend further momentum to our rapidly growing bilateral partnership. I wish you and your delegation a memorable visit to Mumbai and Goa.

Thank you. Muito Obrigado.

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