The Indian connection of Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa is a boon for India, which is expected to be reflected in the meeting between Costa andPrime Minister Narendra Modi later this evening in Lisbon.
Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Costa. Costa is partially of Indian origin and his election in 2015 has opened avenues for energising bilateral relations between the two nations.
Prime Minister Modi is the second Indian Prime Minister to visit Portugal. Earlier, former Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee attended a European Union meeting in Lisbon in the year 2000.
Ahead of his visit Prime Minister Modi set a friendly tone, when he wrote on his Facebook wall that "I will pay a working visit to Portugal on 24 June 2017. Our close historical and friendly ties have picked up momentum after H.E. Prime Minister Antonio Costa's visit to India in January 2017".
The Prime Minister's post further added, "We will also discuss ways to further enhance the bilateral engagement, especially in the areas of economic cooperation, science & technology, space collaboration and people to people ties. We will deliberate on means to intensify our cooperation in counter-terrorism and on other international issues of mutual interest. I also see significant potential for deepening bilateral trade and investment ties".
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.
Trade between the two countries has been growing steadily over the last few years but remains modest at USD 692 million in 2015-16. Portuguese investments into India amount to USD 36.4 million and Portugal ranks 56th in terms of the overall foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India.
Prime Minister Modi will definitely be eyeing ways to attract the FDI from Portugal when he interacts with the Indian-Portuguese community.
Portugal has a large Indian origin diaspora with the Indian community in Portugal estimated at 65,000.
There is much scope for mutual benefit partnership in infrastructure, renewable energy, water & waste management, agro-processing, tourism and hospitality.