Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Saturday called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan and said that his country supports the inclusion of countries like India in the UN Security Council.
“There is need to strengthen and modernize the United Nations therefore, Portugal supports the inclusion of countries like India in the UN Security Council,” he said, adding that only a strong UN can deal with challenges like terrorism, climate change, etc.
“There is need to do much more than has been done in the past. Portugal is keen to strengthen relations with India,” he added.
Costa also said he was honoured to pay a state visit to India as the first Portuguese Prime Minister of Indian origin.
Welcoming him, President Mukherjee said India attaches great value to its historical bonds with Portugal spanning over 500 years.
Mukherjee said India and Portugal share core values of democracy, pluralism, multiculturalism and rule of law. The two countries are built on many commonalities and have developed a broad programme of mutually beneficial co-operation.
“Prime Minister Costa’s visit takes place at a time when relations between India and Portugal are in an excellent state. In trade and investment, scientific research, education, culture and security, our success is substantial.
“Both the countries seek to strengthen their collaboration in areas where they have synergies including defence, maritime cooperation and oceanography and partnerships in third countries,” Mukherjee said, but noted that trade and investment ties between India and Portugal have much scope for improvement.
“Bilateral trade between the two countries is of the order of $700 million. It needs to be energised and the trade basket diversified,” he said.
Futhermore, India and Portugal inked seven pacts to boost engagement in a wide range of areas including defence and security, IT and renewable energy even as they took a veiled dig at China for stalling New Delhi’s move at the UN to designate JeM Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
In wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa, while agreeing to deepen the ties, also called for tough global action against terror networks and States harbouring them stressing that there should not be any double standards in combating terrorism.