Portugal will support India at NSG: Portuguese PM

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New Delhi, Dec 1: Portugal, a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and currently holding the Presidency of the European Union (EU), will support India at the NSG when the Indo-US nuclear deal comes up for review.

It will also convince other members of the EU to support India in view of India's guarantees and evidences of the ''prudent'' use of nuclear energy, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said here today.

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''Portugal will support India at the NSG due to the fact that it is high time the international community realises that India has given enough guarantees of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,'' he said at a joint a press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the India-Portugal Summit meeting.

Asked whether Portugal would use its clout as President of the EU to convince other sceptical members to support India at the 27-nation grouping, Mr Socrates said he would do his utmost to convice other countries.

''Yes. We will do utmost to convince other countries, not to please India, but India has given enough evidence of prudent use of nuclear energy,'' he added.

The Portuguese Prime Minister said it also supported India's candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

Advocating enlargement of the UN Security Council, Mr Socrates said the world had changed during the last 50 years and the UN Security Council should also change.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the two countries had agreed to ''rekindle'' historial links and build a strong contemporary relationship reflecting the goodwill and the immense potential for bilateral cooperation. He said they had also discussed avenues for trilateral cooperation, especially with the Community of Portuguese speaking countries, and were already cooperating in the field of hydro-carbons in Angola.

The Prime Minister said during their bilateral summit meeting today, both countries had shared the view that the present level of bilateral trade at 497 million dollars was far below potential.

''We agreed to make full use of opportunities that are emerging from the rapid growth of India and the expansion of the European Union to actively enhance trade and investment, including encouraging greater business-to-business interaction,'' he added.

Both countries had agreed to enhance bilateral investments in the fields of IT and pharmaceuticals.

The two countries had also identified high-technology areas like IT, bio-technology, bio-informatics and nano technology as focus areas for joint collaboration. For this, existing inter-governmental mechanisms would be re-energised.

The two leaders also exchanged views on regional and international issues.

The Portuguese Prime Minister, while describing the summit meeting as ''mutual re-discovery'', said they had to ''make up for the lost time.'' He stressed on tapping the unexplored areas of IT, oil and gas, renewable energy and tourism.

''We are determined to better know India...We owe it to them,'' he said.


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