Portugal with an eye on India
“I am pleased to start here in the gym,” he said, and expanded the metaphor by adding: “The Portuguese economy needs cardio and restorative [treatment]. It also needs muscle, [especially] abdominals, which is more difficult. Successful physical effort is what’s needed, and this is a good example.”
The minister was in India to promote further economic ties between the country and Portugal, and noted that the gym had been furnished with apparatus made near Aveiro.
“All the equipment has been made in Portugal, by companies in the Aveiro region. This underlines our capacity to manufacture for the Indian market, a huge market of over one thousand three hundred million people.
“Each time we manage to progress beyond our country [in terms of industrial output], we are protecting our rearguard, generating jobs and building our companies,” he added.
His first day in India also took him to a Brisa road toll facility on the outskirts of Gurgaon, and the minister also met some members of the Portuguese community living in New Delhi. He ended the day with a reception at the Lok Sabha, the House of the People, or Lower Indian Parliament.
Paulo Portas was heading a Portuguese trade delegation to the sub-continent and was accompanied by the secretary of state for culture Jorge Barreto Xavier and Pedro Reis, the president of the Portuguese Agency for Investment and External Commerce (AICEP). Representatives of 35 Portuguese companies from various sectors were also travelling with the minister. A number of contracts between Indian and Portuguese companies were signed during the five-day tour, including a lucrative deal between Indian multinational Birla and Visabeira.
On Monday, March 4 the trade delegation took part in the Portugal Business Forum, where the minister for foreign affairs met with Shri Salman Khurshid, Indian minister for external affairs. Paulo Portas also attended a meeting with Shri Rajnath Singh, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), established in 1980 and currently India’s second largest political party.
The political component of the visit continued the following day when Paulo Portas, still in New Delhi, took part in an audience with the vice-president of the Indian National Congress (INC), the country’s major political force. Similarly on the Tuesday, a meeting took place with India’s minister of commerce and industry, Anand Sharma.
A visit to the Tata Motors automobile factory in Mumbai on Wednesday, March 6 was followed on Thursday by a trip to Goa – a former Portuguese colony – where the Portuguese delegation met with local dignitaries and archbishop D. Filipe de Nery Ferrão.
A tour of the historic centre took in the Museum of Christian Art and the historic Reis Magos Fort, the setting for a meeting with representatives of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and entrepreneurs from the agri-food sector.