India-Portugal Relations
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Brief on India-Portugal Relations
India’s relations with Portugal are close and friendly. Relations between India and Portugal began amicably in 1947 after India’s independence and diplomatic relations were established in 1949. Bilateral relations 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. By 1955, the two nations had cut off diplomatic relations, triggering a crisis which precipitated the liberation of Goa by Indian military forces, ending Portuguese rule over Indian enclaves in 1961. It brought to an end, 451 years of Portuguese overseas provincial governance in Goa.  With the signing of a treaty in New Delhi on December 31, 1974 with the new democratic Portuguese Government, the two Embassies were re-established and amicable bilateral relations were restored.

The two countries today share warm and friendly ties with close political, security, cultural, people to people ties. Portugal and India also cooperate actively in multilateral fora including support for each others’ candidatures. Portugal supports of India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. In October 2005, Portugal extradited Abu Salem and Monica Bedi who were facing terror charges in India, becoming the first European nation to do so. On October 9, 2015, Portugal became the first European and western country, and only the fourth outside the East Asia Summit, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the Nalanda University in India.

With India emerging as a rapidly growing major economy and Portugal increasingly looking at key developing countries like India for enhancing trade and investment since the economic crisis of 2008, both countries are looking to deepen economic engagement. Bilateral trade has been growing steadily over the last few years but remains modest at US$ 692 mn in 2015-16. Portuguese investments into India amounts to US$ 36.4 million and Portugal ranks 56th in terms of the overall FDI inflow into India. With Portugal and India sharing similar priorities in terms of boosting domestic economic growth, investment, employment, industry and innovation, there are several sectors with complementarities where partnerships can be forged to mutual benefit, such as: infrastructure (roads, ports, inland waterways), renewable energy (wind and solar), ICT (Start Ups), Water & Waste Management, Agro-Processing, Tourism and Hospitality.

Political Relations
Political relations between India and Portugal are warm and friendly. The election of Mr Antonio Costa, who is partially of Indian origin, as the Prime Minister of Portugal in November 2015, has the potential to energise bilateral relations. The inception of the India-EU Summit in June 2000 during Portuguese’s Presidency of the European Union and the convening of the first India-EU Summit in Lisbon attest to the strength of the relationship. These ties have been reinforced by exchanges at the highest level. President Anibal Cavaco Silva visited India in January, 2007. Prime Minister Jose Socrates visited India in December, 2007 for the 8th India-EU Summit in New Delhi. Dr. Mario Soares visited India twice as the Prime Minister to attend the funeral of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 and as President and Chief Guest of India’s Republic Day in 1992. From the Indian side, President Venkataraman visited Portugal in 1990 and then President K. R. Narayanan in 1998. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Portugal for the first India-EU Summit in Lisbon in June, 2000.

Ministerial visits from Portugal
Ministerial visits to India from Portugal include: visit of Dr. Paulo Portas, Foreign Minister, on March 5-8 2013; Dr. Rui Machete, Foreign Minister, on November 10-12, 2013 to attend the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting Affairs; Dr. Jorge Moreira da Silva, Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy, and Mr. Artur Trindade, Secretary of State for Energy, to attend the 14th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit on February 5-8, 2014. 

Recent Ministerial visits from India to Portugal include: visit of Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs to attend the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies (CoD) in Lisbon on July 11-12, 2009 and Shri Vayalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Indians Affairs from October 9-11, 2011. Minister of State for External Affairs & Overseas Indian Affairs Mr V.K Singh visited Portugal to attend the 8th Horasis-India Meeting held on July 3-4, 2016 in Cascais. On the sidelines of the Horasis-India meeting, Minister of State Gen. V. K. Singh held meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of Economy Dr Manuel Cabral and Secretary of State for International Cooperation Dr. Teresa Ribeiro.

Parliamentary Visits
Portugal has a cross-party ‘India- Portugal Parliamentary Friendship Group’ which was reconstituted after the Parliamentary election in October 2015. On the Indian side too, a similar reconstitution is under review.

A 4-member Parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker of Portugal, Dr. Joao Bosco Mota Amaral, visited India in 2003. From India, a 16-member parliamentary goodwill delegation led by the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Information and Broadcasting, Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, visited Portugal on November 6-7, 2007. The Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, Dr. Charanjit Singh Atwal, visited Lisbon from May 10-14, 2015. A 12-Member Parliamentary Goodwill delegation led by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs & Minister of Chemical and Fertilizers is scheduled to visit Portugal during October 16-19, 2016.

MOUs between India and Portugal
Some important existing bilateral agreements/MoUS are: MoU on Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (1988), Agreement for cooperation in Science & Technology (1998), Agreement on Economic and Industrial Cooperation (2000), Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA), Treaty of Extradition (2007), Agreement on Social Security Convention (2013), MoU on  the establishment of Nalanda University (2015), MoU on Joint Issue of Stamps (2015) and Agreement on gainful employment of diplomatic spouses (2016).

Institutional dialogue mechanisms
The India-Portugal Joint Commission on Economic Matters and the Foreign Office Consultations are the two key bilateral dialogue mechanisms.

Bilateral S&T cooperation is being actively fostered between the two countries under the Agreement for Cooperation in Science and Technology signed in 1998. The cooperation is being pursued through an Indo-Portuguese Joint S&T Committee (JSTC) and a Programme of Cooperation in Science and Technology (POC) through joint research projects, bilateral workshops, and exchange of young scientists in the fields of Ocean Science & Technology, biotechnology, nano-technology, Earth, etc. The 4th session of the JSTC was held in New Delhi on May 08, 2013. The next meeting of the JSTC (5th session) is to be held in October 2016 in Portugal.

Bilateral Trade
Bilateral Trade has been growing steadily during the past few years. However, 2014-15 saw a decline in bilateral trade by -19.18% with respect to 2013-14. Bilateral trade last year (2014-15) further fell by- 11.43% with total trade standing at US$ 692.19 million. Total exports from India to Portugal amounted to US$ 589.64 million and total imports from Portugal stood at US$ 102.55 million, the trade balance remaining in favour of India. The dip in bilateral trade could be seen as a reflection of the slowing down of the European economy and India’s overall trade (India’s global imports also fell by 15.04% and exports by 15.57% during this period. Indian exports to the EU also declined by 9.7% and imports by 10.8% during this timeframe). A table showing year-wise trade figures is below:                                           

(Indian exports and imports in US $ million, Source- DGFT)























1.00 bn








- 11.43

Major articles of export from India include: Cotton; Fish & Crustaceans; Iron and Steel; Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; Footwear; Plastics and articles; Man-made fibres; Organic Chemicals etc. Major articles of import from Portugal are Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; Electrical machinery and equipment; plastics; organic chemicals; copper and articles; paper; raw hides and skins etc.

On June 3, 2015 a Joint Venture agreement was concluded between Portugal’s Visabeira Group and Vindhya Telelinks Limited, creating a new joint venture company, Birla Visabeira Private Limited that plans operations both in India and third countries. On October 27, 2015, the World Trade Centre Mumbai and the Portuguese Indian Chamber of Commerce also concluded a MoU.

In terms of institutionalised agreements, a bilateral Agreement on Trade, Economic, Industrial and Technical Cooperation was signed in 1977, to facilitate and enhance trade. An Agreement on Economic and Industrial Cooperation was signed in April, 2000. A Cooperation Agreement between the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Portuguese Foreign Trade and Investment Agency (AICEP) was signed in 1992. A Cooperation Agreement between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Portuguese Association of Industries (AIP) was signed in 1995 to strengthen trade and investment.

Portuguese Investments in India           
Portugal ranks 56th in Foreign Direct Investments to India, with total FDI inflows amounting to USD 36.49 million (as on 31 March 2016). Major Portugese investors in India are: Martifer (Porto) in the Metals Manufacturing sector; Efacec (Oeiras) in Industrial Machinery, Equipment & Tools sector; Euroamer Garuda, a subsidiary of Euroamer (Lisbon), a Construction project in Bangalore in the Real Estate sector; Sodecia’s acquisition of the Indian Automotive Ancillary Services Group in 2011; Petrotec Group in production, marketing and providing technical support for equipment and systems for the oil industry’s distribution and retail areas; and Feedback Brisa Highways OMT Private Limited (FBH) a joint venture between Feedback Infra Private Limited and Brisa, Auto-estradas de Portugal to install efficient toll and safety systems on Indian roads. Inspira Martifer Solar, a joint venture of Martifer Solar in the Indian market, has installed its first rooftop project on Mapro Food´s food processing factory in Mahabaleshwar, India. The rooftop plant has a total capacity of 350 kW and will produce energy to offset the average consumption of approximately 1,600 inhabitants. It has commissioned a 25 MW solar power plant in Gujarat.

Indian Investments in Portugal
Portugal has initiated a Golden Visa scheme to attract non-European investors to Portugal. The first major foreign investor under the Golden Visa Scheme was an Indian Hotelier, N. Muthu who invested Euro 50 Mn in three hotels in the Algarve region and was awarded the Golden Visa and Resident permit by Portuguese Foreign Minister Dr Paulo Portas during his visit to India in March, 2013. Other investors from India include: Saptashva Solar, a subsidiary of XL Telecom & Energy in the Renewable energy sector in a Electricity project; TCS Iberoamerica in a IT and software services project in the city of Lisbon; Shakthi Auto component, a subsidiary of Sakthi Sugars, Chennai with approx US$ 30 mn investment in an auto component plant in Agueda, and Suzlon with an installed base of 49 S.88 model wind turbines at 7 locations in Portugal. Another Indian company Zomato has invested Euro 11 million in Portugal.

Education & Culture  
A Cultural Cooperation Agreement was signed between the two countries in 1980. Several Cultural Exchange Programmes (CEPs) have been implemented since. Three cultural troupes sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations have visited Portugal since June 2014. A Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Archives Between India and Portugal was signed on March 11, 2014 in New Delhi. A large number of cultural exchanges, including cultural performances, seminars, etc. have been organised in Portugal through ICCR in recent years. A 14 member contemporary dance group led by Shri Astad Deboo is visiting Portugal in October.

An Education exchange Programme (EEP) between India and Portugal for the years 2007-2010 was signed in 2007. The EEP has been extended for another three years from 2016-19. Both sides are considering a new MOU on Cooperation Programme in the fields of Language, Education, Science, Technology, Culture, Sports, Youth and Media, for 2016-19 in place of the existing EEP. Under the EEP, Portugal has also proposed to send Dr. Celia Guido Mendes as visiting Portuguese faculty at the Department of Germanic and Romance Studies in Delhi University for the academic year 2016-17.

A Centre for Indian Studies in the University of Lisbon was inaugurated in April 2016. It is the first such centre dedicated to the study of India iin Portugal. The Centre hosts a Distinguished Lecture series under its annual Specialization course on Indian Studies and Hindi learning. So far, 240 students have enrolled in the Hindi Language programme. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) offers 2 scholarships for a Masters degree and the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan in Agra granted 2 scholarships for study of Hindi in India to Portugese students in 2015-16.

Tourism & Sports
In 2014, India was among the top 5 countries for inbound tourism into Portugal. 44,616 Portugese tourists visited India in 2015, mainly in July and August. Electronic Tourist Visa facility has been extended to Portugese nationals since 27 November 2014 and is expected to further increase tourist flows into India. Architectural restoration, hotel industry, tourist services, maintenance of heritage sites and tourism infrastructure are potential sectors of bilateral collaboration. Portugal participated in the third Lusofonia Games held in Goa from January 18-29, 2014. SPORTING and BENFICA, the two premier soccer clubs in Portugal offer several opportunities for tie-ups in Soccer coaching and training with Indian soccer clubs and other partners.

Indian Community
Portugal has a large Indian origin diaspora estimated at 65,000. According to the GOI High level Committee Report on Indian Diaspora of 2002, there are about 33,000 Hindus, 15,000 Goan Catholics, 12,000 Sunni Muslims, 8,000 Sikhs and 5,000 Ismailis in Portugal. The migration of the community took place in two streams: firstly direct movement from India in smaller numbers from Goa, Daman and Diu before 1961; and thereafter, in a pronounced flow after 1961, mostly of Gujaratis, from Portugal’s former African colonies, particularly Mozambique and Angola, at the start of the decolonization process in Africa in 1975. An estimated 7,500 people of Gujarati origin live in Portugal now. According to Portuguese government figures, in 2015 there were 6,935 Indian nationals in Portugal.

Under the ‘Know Goa’ Programme sponsored by the Government of Goa, three Goan diaspora youth visited Goa in 2015. Similar participation is being considered under the Know India Programme (KIP) for diaspora youth who wish to travel to India and reconnect with their roots.

Embassy of India, Lisbon, in association with the Portuguese Yoga Confederation, organised large-scale celebrations of the International Day of Yoga in Lisbon in 2015 and in 2016. The Portuguese Postal Service released a postcard on 21 June, 2015 to commemorate the first International day of Yoga.

September 20, 2016

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