India, Portugal sign 14 pacts after Modi, Kovind hold talks with Portuguese president; Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to visit Goa today

India, Portugal sign 14 pacts after Modi, Kovind hold talks with Portuguese president; Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to visit Goa today

New Delhi: India and Portugal on Friday exchanged 14 agreements and understandings in a number of key areas, including maritime, intellectual property rights, aerospace and scientific research, as President Ram Nath Kovind hosted his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in New Delhi.

Kovind received Sousa at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on his first state visit to India.

Kovind said Portugal-India relations are very special and the two countries enjoy 500 years of shared history.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (left). PTI

"The two countries are closely tied together through Goa and Mumbai, through our culture, language and kinship," he said.

Kovind thanked Portugal for extending its support for the commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary.

The president said the India-Portugal bilateral agenda has expanded several folds. The two countries are collaborating in science and technology, defence, education, innovation and start-up, water and environment among other things, he added.

Calling terrorism a grave threat to the entire world, Kovind said, "We should deepen our cooperation further to defeat and destroy this global menace."

He also said that climate change was a pressing global challenge today and India looked forward to Portugal joining the International Solar Alliance in the near future.

The two presidents welcomed the exchange of agreements and understandings between India and Portugal in the fields of maritime heritage, maritime transport and port development, migration and mobility, start-ups, intellectual property rights, aerospace, nano-biotechnology, audiovisual co-production, yoga, diplomatic training, scientific research and public policy.

Speaking on the occasion, Kovind said, "Our global partnership has added depth to our multilateral engagement and to our common desire to fashion a multi-polar world order."

"India looks forward to becoming an associate observer of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries so that we can amplify our developmental partnerships in Africa and elsewhere," he added.

Sousa meets Modi

Earlier in the day, Sousa held extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which seven pacts providing for cooperation in areas of investment, transport, ports, culture and industrial and intellectual property rights were signed.

Portugal is an important country for India in Southern Europe, and bilateral ties have witnessed a steady progress in the last 15 years.

In October 2005, Portugal extradited Abu Salem and Monica Bedi to face terror charges.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) shakes hands with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. PTI

Modi visited Portugal in June 2017 during which 11 agreements were signed covering a large number of areas including space, avoidance of double taxation, nano-technology, biotechnology and higher education.

Sousa arrived here on Thursday night on a four-day visit. The last visit by a Portuguese President to India was in 2007. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation.

In the morning, the Portuguese president was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The pacts signed after Modi-Sousa talks included a joint declaration a bilateral mobility partnership and another on maritime transport.

Sousa to visit Goa on Saturday

Sousa will also travel to Maharashtra and Goa during his visit. Sousa will arrive in Goa on Saturday on a two-day visit during which an MoU on water management and sewerage will be signed, officials said here.

He is expected to arrive at 5 pm, an official had said, adding that as part of the memorandum of understanding, Portugal will provide technical assistance to the state's Public Works Department for operational efficiency of 'Goa water system'.

Goa Public Works Department Minister Deepak Pauskar told PTI that Portugal will provide consultancy for augmenting the water and sewerage system of the state, and the agreement will be signed between Portugal based 'Aguas de Portugal' and Goa Public Works Department.

Later during the evening, Sousa would inaugurate a seminar on urban designs organised by state-run Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited.

He will attend a dinner hosted by Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday evening at Raj Bhavan, and on Sunday Sousa will visit Santa Monica Church and Museum of Christian Art at Old Goa.

He will be leaving Goa on Sunday, officials said.