Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, who is in Brussels ahead of the 12th Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) summit, held a bilateral meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa at the European Union headquarters on Friday.
Recalling Prime Minister Costa’s successful visit to India in January 2017 when he was honoured with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award, Naidu commended the former for his personal commitment towards strengthening India-Portugal relations.
He further thanked Costa for joining the committee set up to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi worldwide.
During the meet, Naidu also briefed the Portuguese Prime Minister about the developmental programmes of the Government of India such as Beti Padhao Beti Bachao, Clean India and flagship initiatives including the Make-in-India, Digital India and Make-in-India programmes.
Prime Minister Costa, on the other hand, expressed his pleasure over the ongoing positive momentum in the bilateral relations of the two countries. He said that India-Portugal bilateral trade is on a rise and that Portuguese companies are encouraged by the potential of the Indian market.
He also mentioned that Vision-Box, a Portuguese technology company, recently secured a contract from Bengaluru International Airport to facilitate seamless and paperless air travel using facial recognition biometric technologies.
The Portuguese Prime Minister further informed that the country also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Goa recently regarding a pilot project for water supply and waste water management as a part of the Panaji Smart City initiative.
Naidu also called on India and Portugal to collaborate in new areas of cutting-edge technology. He pointed out that defence, space, infrastructure and startups are areas that could offer potential business opportunities.
Further thanking Portugal for reiterating its support for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council, Naidu said that that India’s inclusion in the UNSC would bolster the credibility and effectiveness of the United Nations.
The theme of this year’s ASEM Summit is ‘Global Partners for Global Challenges’. The bi-annual event is considered the highest platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe in the areas of trade, investment, security and tourism.
As many as 51 heads of states/heads of government are expected to participate in the two-day summit, where a wide array of issues ranging from climate change to terrorism is expected to be discussed.