India, Portugal sign defence and six other pacts to boost ties, take a dig at China

New Delhi: India and Portugal on Saturday inked seven pacts to expand bilateral 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 blocking New Delhi's move at the UN to list Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)'s 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa during his ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa during his ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Modi, in a statement to the media, said he and Costa discussed the need for the global community to take strong and urgent action against the rapidly growing and widely spreading threats of violence and terror.

"Recognising the importance of the Central role of UN in combating terrorism, they exhorted the international community to effectively implement the measures enumerated by the 1267 UN Sanctions Committee," a joint statement issued after the talks said.

On 30 December, China had blocked India's move to list Pakistan-based Azhar as a global terrorist, at the 1267
Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. China was the only member in the 15-nation Committee to have opposed India's move.

The joint statement said both sides called for strengthening cooperation in combating terrorism in a spirit
of 'zero tolerance', underlining that States should not support any terror entity including 'non-State actors' on any grounds.

The two leaders also called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and sought adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN.

The prime minister said his talks with Costa, who traces his origin to Goa, covered the full range of India–Portugal ties across various sectors.

"We agreed that the two countries must focus on an action-oriented approach to realize the full potential of economic opportunities in our partnership. The agreements signed today are just one indication of our shared resolve to do exactly that," he said.

Modi also thanked Costa for Portugal's support to India's membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime, and for its continued support for India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The MoU on defence envisages cooperation meeting security challenges, including in the maritime domain and defence industries.

The joint statement said the two prime ministers looked forward to the signing of the protocol amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and to early ratification of the Social Security Agreement by Portugal to enable it to enter into force.

Modi and Costa condemned extremism and terrorism in all their forms and manifestations, "irrespective of who the
perpetrators are and of their motivations."

"They called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their
financing," the statement said.

It further said: "They underlined that States should not support any terror entity including 'non-State actors' on any grounds and that violent extremism fuelled by misuse of Internet and the social media needs to be countered."

Costa, who had lived in Goa, said he felt proud for being able to return to India as Portugal's prime minister.

"This may be your first state visit to India, but you are neither a stranger to India nor is India unfamiliar to you. So, in addition to extending a warm welcome on this chilly evening, I must also say, Welcome Back!," said Modi.

On defence cooperation, Modi invited Portuguese companies to participate in the 'Make in India' initiative and set up joint ventures and commercial partnerships based on joint production and technology transfer.

Costa, who arrived on Saturday on a seven-day visit, also said Portugal will continue to support India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council along with Brazil and another country from the African continent.

The Portuguese PM will attend the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Bengaluru tomorrow and then will travel to Gandhinagar to attend the Vibrant Gujarat summit on 10 January. He will also visit his ancestral home in Goa.

Talking about UN's role, he said protection of human rights, rule of law and peaceful resolution of conflicts must be the priority for all.

Referring to India's NSG bid, Portugal hoped that India will achieve its early membership.

The other MoUs signed provided for cooperation in areas of information technology and electronics, agricultural trade including market access for agricultural products, deeper engagement in renewable energy and marine research.

Both sides also agreed to accord priority to boost start- ups and creating favourable ecosystems for entrepreneurship.

"In this context, the leaders welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on start-ups and the roadmap therein and called for regular exchanges between Start-Up India and Start-Up Portugal to boost business and enterprise," said the statement.

A commemorative stamp celebrating two dance forms of the two countries were released.

Recognising the cultural and commercial significance of India's film industry and its growing interest in Portugal, Costa agreed to facilitate enhanced collaboration to make Portugal a preferred filming destination for the industry.

In this context, the two leaders looked forward to early conclusion of an Audio-Visual Co-Production Agreement between the two countries, as a timely initiative to incentivize joint film production and boost cooperation in the vibrant film sector.


Updated Date: Jan 07, 2017 22:41 PM

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