Five centuries later, Portuguese want to re-discover India

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New Delhi, Dec 1 (UNI) On May 20, 1498, Portuguese came to India for trade. Now, the boot is on the other foot as the sea-faring nation seeks to re-discover India and invite investments.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said they are determined to better know India. ''We owe it to them,'' he said at a press conference alongwith Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after their Summit meeting here.

The two countries agreed to ''re-kindle'' historical links and build a strong contemporary relationship that reflects the vast goodwill the people of both countries have for each other and the immense potential for bilateral collaboration.

Mr Socrates, who headed his country's delegation at the talks with Dr Singh, said they should ''privilege'' those people with whom they have had historial ties.

Dr Singh said his meeting with his Portugueese counterpart carried forward the momentum generated by the successful visit of the President of Portugal to India in January this year.

Mr Socrates paid rich tributes to the ''hard-working'' Indian community in Portugal for their contribution to that country's economic and social life.

Portugal has the third largest largest Indian origin community in Europe.

''...The richness of Portuguese culture in Goa, Daman and Diu is ell known to every Indian, and we celebrate this legacy,'' Dr Singh said.

''...I can say that we have a warm trusted and reliable friend in Portugal, and specifically in Prime Minister Socrates. India looks forward to taking this relationship forward in all areas,'' Dr Singh added.

The Portuguese Prime Minister said ''we have to make up for the lost time...The President's visit to India (in January) represented a real watershed and turning point'' in India-Portugal bilateral relations.

Talking about investments, both leaders emphasised the importance of strengthening trade and investment ties.

While Mr Socrates called for tapping the unexplored areas of Information Technology, renewable energy, oil and gas and tourism, Dr Singh stressed on encouraging business-to-business contacts, investments and high-tech collaboration.

UNI

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