Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held wide-ranging discussions with his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa here as he began his first leg of his three-nation tour which will also take him to the United States and the Netherlands.
“It is an honor and a source of pride to receive Narendra Modi, the first time an India Prime Minister visits,” the Portuguese PM said in a tweet on Saturday. PM Modi also took to Twitter and said: “I landed in Portugal. My brief visit will strengthen relations between India and Portugal.”
India and Portugal on Saturday announced a four million euros joint fund to bolster research in science and technology as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in-depth talks with his Portuguese counterpart on cooperation in areas like counter-terrorism, space and climate studies.
PM Modi arrived in Lisbon, Portugal today as part of his three-nation visit. This is the first-ever bilateral visit by any India PM to Portugal. He later addressed a joint press statement with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
“We look forward to engaging with Portugal in the Atlantic International Research Centre, both in the Space and Ocean Science fields,” Modi said.
The agreements signed today included cooperation in outer space, double taxation avoidance, nano technology, improving cultural ties, youth and sports, higher education, scientific research, and setting up of a Portugal-India Business Hub and an Indian Chamber of Commerce here.
These pacts are expected to promote India’s ties with Portugal towards the establishment of a unique centre on the Azores Archipelago – the Atlantic International Research Centre, which will act as an innovation hub for trans-atlantic and north-south cooperation. The goal of the Centre is to provide a shared environment to foster new climate, earth, space and marine research.
With respect to space, cooperation is expected to include development and cooperation of next generation nano and micro satellites. On marine sciences, the project would enable India to study the atmospheric and ocean behaviour of the Atlantic and its linkages with weather patterns including the monsoon.
A special Gujarati vegetarian meal was prepared for PM Modi’s lunch. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa today sprang a surprise for Narendra Modi when he hosted a special Gujarati vegetarian lunch for him that included dishes like ‘Aakhu Saak’ and ‘Mango Shrikhand’.
Aakhu literally means ‘whole’ and shaak simply means ‘curry’. It is a dish in which vegetable stuffing is heavily spiced and is wonderful for big get-togethers.
The other items on the menu included ‘Saag Kofta’, ‘Rajma aur Makai’, ‘Tarkha Daal’, ‘Kesar Rice’, ‘Para.
After the ceremonial welcome, lunch and discussions between the two prime ministers, they issued a joint press statement. “17 cooperation projects have been identified, we are working with institutions. Our talks have covered wide variety of areas,” Portuguese PM said in his statement.
Meanwhile, Modi began his address by sharing condolences for the victims of forest fire and their families. “We thank Portugal for your consistent support for India’s permanent membership of UNSC, and of Multilateral Export Control Regime”.
“We have agreed to set up a joint Science and Technology fund of four million euros. New agreements in the field of taxation, science, space, youth affairs and sports outline expanding scope of our partnership,” PM Modi said.
In a joint address to the media after signing 11 bilateral agreements, Modi and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who traces his origin to Goa, said the two countries have made substantial progress since Costa visited India in January
Costa had visited India in January, when he went to see his family members at his ancestral house in Goa.
Earlier today, Modi and Costa took a stroll around the Palacio das Necessidades, a historic building in the Largo do Rilvas, a public square in Lisbon.
Modi said Portuguese Prime Minister Costa represents the best of the Indian diaspora across the world. Portugal has a large Indian-origin diaspora with the Indian community in Portugal estimated at 65,000.
He also praised Indian films having a presence in the country. “Indian films are being subtitled in Portuguese and a Hindi-Portuguese dictionary is being developed for our mutual benefit,” Modi said.
Modi today offered prayers at the Radha Krishna temple in Lisbon and interacted with prominent people of the Indian community.
The Hindu-Portuguese community has over 9,000 members, most of them originated from the ex-colonies held by the Portuguese. Portugal has a large Indian-origin diaspora with the Indian community in Portugal estimated at 65,000.
Costa said India and Portugal “will make a great deal of progress in digital partnerships, a lot of work has been done in six months since I visited India. Great strides have been made in partnerships in economy, science and technology,” he said.
Relations between India and Portugal began amicably in 1947 after India’s independence and diplomatic relations were established in 1949. Bilateral ties however went into decline after 1950 over Portugal’s refusal to surrender its enclaves of Goa, Daman Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli on India’s west coast.
But with the signing of a treaty in New Delhi in December 1974, bilateral relations were restored.