As he visited the land of his ancestors, Portugese Prime Minister Antonio Costa was on Wednesday accorded a warm welcome in Goa, with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar terming it as a "proud" moment for the people of the state.
Costa, who has roots in Goa that remained under Portugese rule for nearly 450 years, on Wednesday held talks with the Chief Minister focusing on ties in tourism, science, oceanography, language and heritage.
55-year-old Costa will be visiting his ancestral home in Margoa during his stay two-day in the coastal state.
"We had a discussion with Portugal's Prime Minister on various issues ranging from heritage, tourism, science, oceanography, Portuguese language and others. We want to cement ties with Portugal in these areas," Parsekar told reporters after his half-an-hour meeting with Costa.
Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza said that a welcome programme planned on Costa's arrival was withdrawn at the Portugal government's request as the people there are mourning the death of former President Mario Soares, the founder of democracy in that country.
"The Prime Minister has invited me to Portugal after the elections, so that we can have a detailed discussion," Parsekar said.
He said Goa has age-old ties with the European nation.
"Of course after liberation (from Portuguse rule in 1961), in the last 55 years we have been doing well, but Common Civil Code is gift to this state by Portugal," he said.
The CM also said Portugal also stood with the country in its fight against terrorism.
"During the Uri militant attack, Portugal was leading the countries that supported India in its fight against terrorism. It is a global challenge to identify terrorist spots and their financiers and eliminate them. Portugal is with India in this fight," he said.
Asked about the demand of some local political outfits that Costa apologise for Portugal colonising Goa for nearly five centuries, Parsekar said, "Goans should feel proud that a person of Goan origin is heading the entire Portugal today."
"I don't like to create controversy, particularly when the election is around.
"In fact, this gentleman (Costa) shows and discloses proudly that his origin is in Goa. In that sense I feel we Goans should feel proud. It is a matter of pride for all of us," he added.