India-Portugal relations are anchored in  over half-a-millennium of history. It’s a  relationship of culture, language, deep  kinship, art, architecture, gastronomy,  music – sublime, intangible things that    connect peoples’ hearts and minds irrevocably. The Prime Minister of Portugal    H.E. Antonio Costa, (Overseas Citizen of    India), epitomizes this profound connection in many ways. The diplomatic ties    established between democratic India and  Portugal 44 years ago, are forging a  forward looking relationship of friendship,  respect and mutual benefit between the  two, while also seeking to shape a better  world that reflects our shared values –  peaceful coexistence, respect for pluralism,  individual liberties, democracy and a better  life for all.  Recent visits, bilaterals and stronger  relations:  Visits exchanged by Prime Minister  Narendra Modi and Prime Minister  Antonio Costa in 2017 resulted in over 20  agreements/outcomes in key sectors:  defence, space, science and technology,  renewable energy, oceans, IT, agriculture,  start-ups, education, culture, youth, sports.    They are helping build a robust partnership that enriches peoples’ lives. For    instance, in the area of economy where  bilateral trade has steadily risen to reach  almost $1 billion p.a. Aguas de Portugal is  collaborating in a water treatment project in Goa; a Portuguese company is installing  biometric facial recognition systems at  Bengaluru Airport to make paperless air  travel a reality; both governments are  collaborating to improve citizen-friendly  e-governance processes. In Science and  Technology, a new €4 million joint fund  for collaborative partnerships is being  launched in addition to 15 ongoing joint  research projects; the first-ever MOU in  Defence is facilitating closer trade and  cooperation; the India-Portugal Startup  partnership is helping Indian start-ups  incubate in Portugal while initiatives like  the Heritage Network are bringing together  Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)  and Portuguese/European counterparts.  The launch of the first Youth Exchange  Programme between India and Europe  started with Portugal is bringing our youth  closer. Academic partnerships have  strengthened with growing institutional  linkages; initiatives like the Indian Ocean  and Hindi Conferences and the first  Hindi-Portuguese dictionary. Culturally,  the Portuguese people’s keen interest in  Yoga, spirituality and meditation translates  into the enthused participation of around  2000 Portuguese people in the annual  International Day of Yoga celebrations  and nearly 100 yoga training centres across  Portugal. In fact, two Portuguese citizens  are currently pursuing an Ayurveda degree  in India on Indian government scholarships  and a Portuguese Member of  Parliament participated in the Kumbh  Mela! At PM Modi’s invitation, PM  Costa joined the Committee organizing  the two-year [email protected] celebrations  worldwide, and on 2nd October, the  iconic Praca do Comercio in Lisbon  displayed Gandhiji’s messages along  with a beautiful rendition of his favourite  bhajan by renowned flautist Rao  Kyao. 

Our Diaspora:  Our 70,000-strong Indian diaspora in  Portugal is a living bridge that deserves  celebration. From their enthusiastic participation  in the first-ever ‘Festival of India’  on India’s Independence Day, which  attracted 7000+ visitors through to the 13  Indian-origin Portuguese who have visited  India under the Know India Programme  and Know Goa Programme – each of  them is a vital link. Our growing and  vibrant Punjabi community celebrated the  ‘Punjab Divas’ in Lisbon along with  Baisakhi festivities and is gearing up for  the upcoming 550th birth anniversary  celebrations of Guru Nanakji. The filming  of big-banner Bollywood movies as well as  incipient linkages in sports, is bringing the  people of both countries even closer.  I would like to thank The Global Indian  series for selecting Portugal as part of this  important journey of Indian global discovery  and providing a platform to validate  these meaningful relations.  I welcome you to this feature-an exciting  celebration of human interest stories and a  portal to meaningful opportunities. 

“I would like to thank The Global Indian  series for selecting Portugal as part of this  important journey of Indian global discovery  and providing a platform to validate  these meaningful relations.  I welcome you to this feature-an exciting  celebration of human interest stories and a  portal to meaningful opportunities”

Leave a comment