Lisbon [Portugal], November 1 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday stressed that Indo-Portugal relations had seen a lot of new energy and activities for several sectors, noting that trade and investment are clearly a strong driving force.
Jaishankar, along with his Portuguese counterpart Joao Cravinho, delivered a joint statement during a press briefing in Portugal, where both ministers discussed various aspects of the India-Portugal relationship.
He further emphasised that Indian IT companies have made their mark in Portugal.
Additionally, Jaishankar expressed joy that India’s main milk and dairy company, Amul, is the first Indian regional sponsor of the Portuguese national football team.
“I’m happy to see Amul, the main milk and dairy company, is the first Indian regional sponsor of the Portuguese national football team,” he said.
Earlier in the morning, Jaishankar called on Portugal President Augusto Santos Silva. “We had a discussion on our political and parliamentary exchanges that I value very much. In our own meeting today, we have had a very detailed assessment of our bilateral partnership,” he said.
He further said, “We are going to ask our joint economic committee to follow up on some of our discussion and see what more we could be doing in health, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy.”
Shedding light on defence cooperation, he said that the two ministers also discussed defence cooperation, start up and innovation.
“There was some talk between us on direct air connectivity that is today a missing piece in our relationship. We are very confident that our exchanges will expand once we can progress on that and both of us put a lot of weight on tourism and that to grow direct air connectivity,’ he added.
Moreover, Jaishankar highlighted that they also discussed how they can work trilaterally in third countries.
“There was some discussion on how we could work trilaterally in third countries because both of us have some history of doing development, partnerships, capacity building, education, health… so to the extent we can pull our resources, experience and relationships,” he added.
I think we will be able to do more good in an efficient way, he said.
Meanwhile, Portuguese Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho stressed that India is a country that is very close to our hearts, further noting that “this is a moment in which it is extremely useful to exchange views on some of the considerable difficulties of the international system.”
Cravinho stated that they discussed bilateral political relations, “which are excellent”, adding, “We discussed the possibility of jointly celebrating the re-establishment of diplomatic relations of 50th anniversary.”
EAM Jaishankar and Cravinho also reviewed the implementation of the agreement on the recruitment of Indian civilians to work in Portugal.
“We agreed on a standard operating procedure for that and there will be a pilot project to take it forward,” EAM Jaishankar said during the press briefing.
They further discussed youth mobility and mutual recognition of academic qualifications.
Jaishankar highlighted that they might set up a Consular Dialogue Mechanism, and “We would be happy to come here to Portugal for the first meeting of that.”
Adding to this, he noted, “After this interaction, we will be talking more about regional, global and multilateral issues.”
Underscoring that India has always regarded Portugal as one of our key partners in the European Union.
“The very first India-EU summit was held in 2000 under Portuguese presidency and very first India-EU at a 27 leadership summit was also held in 2021 under Portuguese presidency…We count very much on Portuguese support for our FTA negotiations with the EU that are on the way,” he stressed.
Additionally, he said they look forward to marking the reestablishment of 50 years of India-Portugal diplomatic relations in 2025.
Talking about the Indian diaspora in Portugal, Jaishankar said, “We are very proud of the Indian diaspora in Portugal and they contribute very substantially to growth and progress.”
Portuguese Foreign Minister Cravinho highlighted the economic relationship with India, stating, “There are a range of possibilities resulting from the green transition and the digital transition that both our countries are growing through, and the opportunities that exist for intensifying Portuguese economic activity in India and Indian economic activity in Portuguese.”
Additionally, he said that both ministers discussed consular relations between India and Portugal and “the work we can do in the context of labour mobility.”
We have an agreement on this, which we are now putting into practise, he added.
Highlight the cultural relations between the two countries, he said, “We looked at cultural relations in ways we can work together…”
Moreover, “We looked at the possibility of triangular cooperation in third countries. In the international field, we have the war and invasion of Ukraine in the Middle East, and we are delving further into this during the lunch break,” he added.
EAM Jaishankar also called on Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa to discuss furthering of ties.
“Pleasure to meet Prime Minister @antoniocostapm today. Conveyed the warm greetings of PM @narendramodi. Discussed contemporary challenges and appreciated his guidance for the further development of our ties” Jaishankar posted on X. (ANI)