India's relations with Portugal have grown over the years: Salman Khurshid
New Delhi, Mar 4 : Asserting that India's relations with Portugal are warm and friendly and have grown over the years, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday said periodic high level visits between our two countries have given a boost to our bilateral relations.
Addressing media along with Minister for Foreign Affairs of Portugal Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas here, Khurshid said: "India and Portugal have cooperated closely in multilateral forums on a range of global issues. We expressed satisfaction of the fact that the bilateral trade in 2012 has been resorted to pre-global economic crisis levels of 2008-09."
"We also acknowledged that our bilateral trade has considerable potential for growth and that the partnership is currently below potential. We noted with satisfaction that many companies from India and Portugal are already active in bilateral business partnerships in both countries. Indian IT companies have already set up operations in Portugal, and there are greater prospects of diversification of investments to other sectors also," he said.
"We also discussed the economic situation in the European Union and India. We expressed confidence that Europe which is one of India's largest trade partners will return to a positive growth path," he added.
Stating that we look forward to continuing our bilateral dialogue on these issues, Khurshid said: "The presence of His Excellency the Minister of State for Culture with us today offered an opportunity to review the ongoing bilateral cultural ties. We noted that the bilateral Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) is facilitating greater exchange of cultural resources, and also agreed to put the CEP to effective use and realize its full potential."
"Our discussions on the multifarious regional and global issues reiterated the fact that Portugal and India share similar worldview. We look forward to continuing our bilateral dialogue on these issues," he added.
Emphasising that the Indian community has been contributing to furthering of cultural ties and in forming a unique and positive bond between our two countries, Khurshid said: "Our linkages date back to many centuries. We share commonalities of history and culture. Portugal is home to the third largest population (70,000) of Persons-of-Indian origin (PIOs) in Europe. We have discussed ways to further strengthen the people-to-people contacts, and noted that the signing of the Social Security Agreement between our two countries during this visit will further these contacts.
"The conduct of the third Lusofonia Games in Goa towards the end of the year will, we hope, enhance the engagement of sportspersons from India and the 11 other countries who will participate in the games," he added.
Further asserting that both India and Portugal are resolutely opposed to terrorism, Khurshid said" "We share common views on this global menace. We reiterated our commitment to continue our cooperation in the fight against terrorism."
"I conveyed deep appreciation of the Government of India for the positive support extended by Portugal on the extradition of Abu Salem wanted in connection with criminal cases dating back to the Mumbai blasts of 1993," he added.