Portugal President Professor Anibal Cavaco Silva, a politically representative parliamentary delegation, and large business delegation visited India and signed 4 significant agreements. The visit coincided with the 32nd anniversary of resumption of bilateral relations in 1975. Following the Indian independence in 1947, India and Portugal had a strained relationship over Goa which was still held by Lisbon as its colony. Failing to evict them from Panaji, the Indian Army launched a flush out operation to take over Goa in a very short time and the remnant Portuguese troops charged to protect Goa hurriedly leaving in ships leaving behind all possessions.
The four agreements signed during Silva’s visit included an extradition treaty, cultural cooperation for 2007-2009, education (to include language, science, technology, and higher education), and sports (to include education, science, culture, youth, and mass media). In addition, a four member politically representative Portuguese Parliamentary delegation met with Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.R. Dasmunshi to exchange thoughts on respective democracies and agreed to establish a Friendship Group.
Addressing a joint session of Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Silva called on businesses to “strategic partnerships with a futuristic mindset.” Specifically, he wanted increased interactions in “sectors such as IT, robotics, communications, biotechnology, tourism and banking services, engineering, moulds and construction.” Bemoaning that Indo-Portugal relation was below par, to point of being almost negligible, Silva stressed the “need” to “mobilize the will of our political, economic, cultural, and scientific communities.” He wanted increased flow of “information and communication between the two countries” and which is further “strengthened” by “politicians” who “must contribute by creating suitable conditions for business to materialize.” India wants focus on IT, biotechnology, agribusiness & food processing, tourism, textiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals while also facilitating easier movement of business people, professionals, and tourists. Portugal has offered to use its privileged position with former colonies in South America and Africa to be a bridge for Indian businesses to reach markets with 500 million.