India-Portugal Relations
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Brief on India-Portugal Relations

India’s relations with Portugal remain 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, the two Embassies were re-established and amicable bilateral relations were restored.

            The two countries today share warm and friendly ties. Portugal and India cooperate actively in multilateral fora including support for each others’ candidatures. Portugal is supporting of India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. In October 2005, Portugal extradited Abu Salem and Monica Bedi to India facing terror charges in India. This is the first extradition from any European nation to India. 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 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$ 812.34 mn in 2016-17. Portuguese investments into India amount to US$ 42.62 mn million and Portugal ranks 55th 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 relation between India and Portugal are warm and friendly. The election of Indian origin Mr Antonio Costa as the Prime Minister of Portugal in November 2015 has energised bilateral relation. The inception of the India-EU Summit in June 2000 and the convening of the first India-EU Summit Meeting in Lisbon is noteworthy. The political relationship has 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, during the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union. 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, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Portugal for the first India-EU Summit in Lisbon in June, 2000. President K. R. Narayanan visited Portugal in 1998 and President Venkataraman in 1990.

Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa accompanied by 6 Ministers (Ministers of Science & Technology, Economy, Culture, Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Secretary of State for Industry) and a business delegation visited India in January 2017. His visit comprised of four elements: bilateral visit to New Delhi [7 January 2017]; Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Bengaluru [8-9 January 2017]; participation in Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar [10 January 2017] and visit to Goa [January 11-12, 2017]. He was awarded the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award, the highest honour conferred to the Indian diaspora.

During the visit, 8 MoUs were signed in the areas of Defence, Agriculture & Allied sectors, Marine Research & Resource, IT & Electronics, Start-Up Partnership, Renewable Energy, Visa waiver agreement for diplomatic passport holders, and establishment of an ICCR Chair for Indian Studies in the University of Lisbon. A Joint Stamp depicting dances of both countries was released to commemorate 500 years of diplomatic relations between India and Portugal. A Portuguese novel “Signo da Ira’’ set in Goa authored by PM Costa’s father was translated into English and also released during the visit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Portugal in June 2017. During this first-ever bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Portugal, 11 MoUs were signed in the areas of Space, avoidance of double taxation, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Public Administration and Governance Reforms, Culture, Youth & Sports, Higher Education (IITs). Two countries also agreed to set up a Joint S&T Fund of 4 million Euros.

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.  Dr Teresa Ribeiro, Secretary of State of foreign Affairs and Cooperation visited India from November 24-25, 2016 and held meetings with MoS for Foreign Affairs M.J Akbar, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The Portuguese Minister of Presidency & Administrative Reforms Maria Manuel Marques was the Keynote Speaker in the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV) 2017, organised by our Ministry of Electronics and IT from March 7-9, 2017 and Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs Ms Teresa Rebiero visited Ahmedabad to participate in the African Development Bank meeting from May 22-26, 2017.

Recent Ministerial visits from India to Portugal include: 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. Minister of State for Science, Technology and Earth Science Shri Y. S Chowdary, accompanied by a high-level delegation visited Portugal from April 19-23, 2017 to participate in the Atlantic International Research (AIR) meeting in Azores islands in Portugal.

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. A 12-Member Parliamentary Goodwill delegation led by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs & Minister of Chemical and Fertilizers visited Portugal from October 16-19, 2016 and had meetings with the President of the National Assembly Dr Ferro Rodrigues, Secretary of State for Parliament Affairs Dr Pedro Nunos and Secretary of State for European Affairs Dra Margarida Marques.

MOUs between India and Portugal

Some important existing bilateral agreements/MoUs are: MoU on Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (1988, Protocol Amending the existing MoU on double taxation Avoidance is being updated now), Agreement for cooperation in Science & Technology (1998), Agreement on Economic and Industrial Cooperation (2000), Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA- 2002, Under review), 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), Agreement on gainful employment of diplomatic spouses (2016), MoU in the field of Civil Aviation (Air Service agreement )between India and Portugal (Dec 8, 2016);MoU on Marine Research and Resources (January 7, 2017);MoU on cooperation in the fields of I.T and Electronics (January 7, 2017);MoU in Renewable Energy (January 7, 2017);Visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders(January 7, 2017);MoU in Defence cooperation (January 7, 2017);MoU between Invest India and Start-up Portugal on Start-up Partnership (Jan 9, 2017);MoU in the field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors (January 7, 2017);MoU for establishment of the ICCR Chair in University of Lisbon (January 7, 2017); and Protocol of Cooperation in the field of Conservation and Preservation of Archives and Historical Documents between National Archives of India and Portuguese Ministry of Culture (May 17, 2017), MoU on Cooperation in Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes (June 24, 2017), Protocol amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income (June 24, 2017), MoU on Nanotechnology (June 24, 2017), MoU on Public Administration and Governance Reforms (June 24, 2017), MoU on Cultural Cooperation (June 24, 2017), MoU on Youth and Sports between (June 24, 2017), MoU on Cooperation in the fields of Higher Education and Scientific Research (June 24, 2017), MoU on Biotechnology (June 24, 2017).

Institutional dialogue mechanisms

The India-Portugal Joint Commission on Economic Matters was instituted in 1977 and has met four times so far; the 4th session of JEC was held in Lisbon on May 30, 2017 between Ms. Anita Pravin, Joint Secretary (FT-Europe) in Department of Commerce and Ms. Virginia Pina, Director General, Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss a roadmap for boosting bilateral and third-county trade and investment cooperation.

The 4th round of Foreign Office Consultations was held in Lisbon on December 13, 2016 between Ms. Sujata Mehta, Secretary (West) in MEA and Mr. Francisco Duarte Lopes, Director-General, Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Bilateral S&T cooperation is being actively fostered between the two countries under the Agreement for Cooperation in Science and Technology signed on December 3, 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) concluded from time to time for a specified period. The POC facilitates bilateral cooperation between the scientific communities of India and Portugal by way of joint research projects, bilateral workshops, and exchange of young scientists in the fields of Ocean Science & Technology, biotechnology, nano-technology, Earth, etc. The Joint Science and Technology Committee held its fifth session in Lisbon on March 13-14, 2017 and concluded a Programme of Cooperation (POC). The meeting was co-chaired by Dr Arabinda Mitra, Advisor and Head of International Cooperation, Dept of Science & Technology (DST) from India and Dra Isabel Rebiero, FCT Board Member from Portuguese side. The visiting Indian JSTC delegation also met Portuguese Science and Technology & Higher Education Minister Dr Manuel Heitor. Some of the major decisions were as follows:- co-finance/Joint funding of 15 projects (out of 135 formulated during the joint call) in areas of materials, energy, biotechnology, and health sciences; terms & conditions for exchange of scientists finalized in the Programme of Cooperation and signed for the period 2017-2019; three workshops to be held in next two years in the fields of Marine/Ocean science (scheduled for July 2017 in Lisbon on the margins of Ciencia 2017), Nano-technology and Tissue-engineering/bio-medicine; encourage exchange by young researchers and faculty under DST’s flagship programmes - GITA, GIAN and VAJRA; and the next session of the Joint S&T Committee will be held in 2019 in India. In Ciencia 2017 (Annual Portuguese Science Meeting), Portugal for the first time invited a guest country and gave that honour to India. The Indian delegation at Ciencia 2017 included senior scientists from ISRO, NIO and NIOT.

Bilateral Trade

Bilateral Trade has been growing steadily during the past few years. In 2016-17, bilateral trade was US$ 812.34 million. Indian exports stood at USD 671.17 million and Portuguese exports at US$ 141.16 million. Trade balance has always been in favour of India. Bilateral trade increased by 120 Mn over the previous year’s figure of 692.19 Mn, registering an increase of 17.3%. Table showing year-wise bilateral trade figures from 2012-13 to 2016-17 is given below:

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





























- 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.

Jet Airways organized a Roadshow in Lisbon in June 2016 to promote India as a niche tourist destination and explore the possibility of a direct flight. A trade delegation anchored by the Sports Goods Export Promotion Council (SGEPC) visited Portugal from November 14-15 and held Buyer Seller Meets and B2B meetings.

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. MOU between FICCI and CCIP establishing India-Portugal Joint Business Council was signed on May 30, 2017 during Joint Economic committee meeting. A business platform- Portugal-India Business Hub (PIBH), a business diaspora hub for expanding Indian business ties with Lusophone countries was also set-up during JEC meeting.

Under the framework of MOUs signed during PM Costa’s visit to India (in Agriculture, Marine Research & Resources, IT& Electronics and Renewable Energy), the first meeting of the JWG on Renewable Energy is being held on June 21 through DVC. Both sides are in the process of identifying focal points to convene JWGs in Agriculture and IT & Electronics and Marine Resources. Under the Start-Up partnership MoU, an India-Portugal Startup Hub was launched during PM’s visit to Portugal (June 24, 2017). Public Works Department delegation from Goa and Aguas de Portugal are discussing possible commercial collaboration in water and waste management in Goa. A delegation from PWD Goa is expected to visit Portugal soon to take this discussion further.

Mission organized India Business Seminars in Lisbon and Porto on March 21-22 where representatives of CII, Invest India, States of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh and Indian tax and legal experts participated and made presentations on business and investment opportunities available in India, focusing on the two States-Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

Portuguese Investments in India  

Portugal ranks 55th in Foreign Direct Investments to India, with total FDI inflows amounting to USD 42.62 million (as on 31 March 2016). Major Portuguese 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

While precise figures are not available, Indian investments in Portugal are in the range of
USD 150 mn. Portugal has initiated a Golden Visa scheme to attract non-European investors to Portugal. The first major foreign investor under the Golden Visa Scheme who was given a residency permit 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. 24 Indians made investments under the Portuguese Golden Visa Scheme till December 2016. 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. Another Indian company Zomato has invested Euro 11 million in Portugal.

Education & Culture  

Cultural Cooperation Agreement was signed between the two countries in 1980. Several Cultural Exchange Programmes (CEPs) have been implemented. A Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Archives Between India and Portugal was signed on March 11, 2014 in New Delhi and it was renewed for another three years on May 17, 2017 in Lisbon during the visit of two-member National institute of Archival delegation from May 14-17, 2017. The Embassy of India Lisbon in association with Conrad Algarve and Art Catto Galary organized Spirit of India Festival from March 31- 8 April 2016 where artists (painters) and folk dancers from India participated. 14-member contemporary Dance group led by Shri Astad Deboo visited Portugal from October 4-8, 2016. Chhau dance troupe led by Rakesh Sai babu from ICCR visited Lisbon to perform in Orient foundation from April 29- May 4, 2017.

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.

The Centre for Indian Studies in the University of Lisbon was inaugurated in April 2016 by the Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva. It is the first centre in any university or think tank in Portugal dedicated to the study of India. The Centre hosts a Distinguished Lecture series on art, culture, foreign policy, economy and international relations. It also offers Hindi language learning, in which 240 Portuguese students have so far enrolled. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) also offers 2 scholarships for Masters Degree and the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan in Agra provided 3 scholarships to study Hindi in India to Portuguese students last year. The Indian Studies Centre is now working on a Hindi-Portuguese dictionary sponsored by ICCR, which can be used in all Lusophone countries for promotion of Hindi. Ayush has recently approved the grant of 5 Scholarships for 2017-18 to Portuguese nationals for pursuing courses in Ayurveda and Yoga in Indian institutes.

India was chosen as Guest Country to show-case its unique profile at the Finisterra Arrabida Film Arts and Tourism Festival 2017, held in Sesimbra from May 23-26. An exhibition depicting arts, crafts, culture and traditional costumes of India was also held.

Tourism & Sports

Embassy of India Lisbon issued 5507 visas in 2016 (Jan-Dec). According to our Ministry of Tourism, 44,616 Portuguese tourists visited India in 2015, mainly in July and August, providing business to the Indian tourism industry during the lean season. Electronic Tourist Visa facility has been extended to Portuguese nationals since November 2014. Embassy of India has issued 1296 visas from January 1, 2017 to May 31, 2017 on the average of 260 visas per month. Number of visas being issued by the Embassy has not seen a decrease since the introduction of ETV. Architectural restoration, hotel industry, tourist services, maintenance of heritage sites and tourism infrastructure are areas of Portuguese expertise and sectors of potential bilateral collaboration. Given that hotels and tourism sector in India is now open to 100% FDI, this could be a thrust area for Portuguese investments.

The Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism Dra Ana Godinho visited Mumbai and Goa from 23-26 February to participate in the India International Film Tourism Conclave (IIFTC) 2017 in Mumbai. She also held a meeting with the Indian tourism and hospitality industry in Mumbai and invited them to partner Portugal’s phenomenal growth in tourism and invest in flagship programmes like ‘Revive’ that seek to restore and revive heritage buildings into luxury resorts.

10 Indian students from the Salgaonkar Institute of International Hospitality Education in Goa visited various Portuguese Hospitality institutes for familiarization for ten days. Under 17 Indian National Football team visited Portugal in April as a part of Europe tour (Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Hungary) to get exposure themselves as India is hosting Under 17 FIFA World cup in October this year.

Indian Community           

Portugal has a large Indian origin diaspora with the Indian community in Portugal 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 in 2015 and two youth in 2016 visited Goa to reconnect with their roots. Under MEA’s ‘Know India’ Programme for diaspora youth, the Mission has recommended applications of two diaspora youth from Punjab to travel to India from October 1-25 2016 to rediscover India and the state of Punjab. 

On June 21 2015, the first International Day of Yoga was organized in Lisbon in partnership with the Portuguese Yoga Confederation, which is headed by Padma Shri Awardee Jagat Guru Amrata Suryananda Maha Raja, President of the Institute Yoga Samkhya. As part of the celebrations, an international conference was held on June 20, 2015, with attendees from 17 countries. Portuguese Postal Service released a postcard on June 21, 2015 to commemorate the day. The third International Day of Yoga was organised by the Indian Embassy, in association with the Portuguese Yoga Federation and the Portuguese Hindu community, on June 21, 2017 in Lisbon.

Useful Resources:

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August 24, 2017