BY SHRI K.R.NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, WHILE RECEIVING CREDENTIALS FROM
MR. FRANCISCO MANUEL GUIMARAES HENRIQUES DA SILVA, AMBASSADOR DESIGNATE
NEW DELHI, JUNE 12, 2001
have great pleasure in welcoming you to India and in accepting the letter
of credence accrediting you as the next Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary
of Portugal to India.
India and Portugal have shared historic ties for over five centuries.
Inspired by the spirit of adventure and a desire to discover new lands,
Portuguese travellers chartered a new course of economic and commercial
interaction between India and the Western Hemisphere. This civilisational
confluence has had a profound impact on India over the last five centuries.
However, our broad-based interaction in the last 50 years has transcended
the past and has moved in consonance with the dynamic political scenario
and the economic challenges of the modern world.
recent years, our two countries have undergone significant socio-economic
and political changes. Keeping pace with changed times, our relationship
with Portugal has also acquired a multi-dimensional character, extending
to the fields of trade and commerce, science and technology, culture and
cooperation to mention a few. Regular interaction at ministerial and official
levels has enabled us to reach an understanding on various issues of mutual
concern, in the bilateral, regional and multilateral arenas.
recall my memorable visit to your country in September 1998. The momentum
generated by that visit has accorded a new focus and dynamism to our bilateral
relationship. To maintain this useful political dialogue, we have invited
President Sampaio to visit India. We look forward to receiving him in
India in the year 2002, at a mutually convenient time.
another significant milestone in our relationship was the very rewarding
visit to Portugal by our Prime Minister on 28-29 June 2000, coinciding
with the first-ever India-EU Summit held under Portugal’s Presidency of
the European Union. It was Portugal’s keen interest and leadership, which
contributed to the success of the Summit. The Summit moved India-EU relations
to a discernibly higher political and economic level. The Lisbon Summit
Declaration on "Prospects of India-EU Relations in the 21st Century" is a broad vision statement of the India-EU relations and
provides guidelines on upgrading relations. Our delegation held very productive
discussions on the status of our relationship with the EU and on regional
and global issues of common concern. An agreement for Bilateral Protection
and Promotion of Investments was signed with Portugal. A reciprocal visit
to India by Prime Minister Guterres would allow us to consolidate our
ongoing interaction and high-level dialogue.
interaction was also set in motion with the first-ever visit to India
by a Portuguese Parliamentary delegation in December 1998. An Indian parliamentary
delegation led by the Speaker of our Lower House is expected to visit
Portugal in the coming months to continue this useful interaction. It
is indeed encouraging to see this shared desire on both sides to maintain
close contacts with each other.
commercial cooperation has not been commensurate with the development
of a political dialogue between the two countries. There is considerable
untapped potential for increasing bilateral trade, which stood in India’s
favour at US $ 163 million in 1999. Approved foreign direct investment
from Portugal has also not kept pace with the rapid economic reform programme
in India. Portugal’s businessmen and entrepreneurs could benefit by taking
advantage of the enormous economic opportunities that India offers. Excellency,
alongwith a full-fledged democracy, multi-culturalism, pluralism and rule
of law, India has to her credit, formidable achievements in technology
and industry. India has earned praise for its impressive performance in
fields like atomic energy, space and rocketry, information technology
and telecommunications, to name a few.
both our countries share common beliefs of peace, friendship among the
peoples, respect for international law and the principles of the UN Charter.
However, we do not live in a perfect world. The growing web of interdependence
demands that we take a global view of issues relating not only to economy
but also to international security. Weapons of mass destruction combined
with threats posed by international terrorism and drug-trafficking across
national borders necessitate a co-ordinated approach to ensure international
peace and security. As two nations committed to democracy and peace, India
and Portugal must join hands and cooperate to fight these inter-linked
is also important for the United Nations and its institutions to reflect
contemporary realities. There is a need for the UN Security Council to
be restructured and expanded. A more accountable and expanded Security
Council is in the interests of the world community. We have already made
a very strong case for our presence in the UN Security Council, as permanent
member. We welcome Prime Minister Guterres’ statement that Portugal has
sympathy for India’s UNSC candidature. We hope that this encouraging statement
will materialise into concrete support for India’s candidature.
we value our relationship with Portugal. I am confident that our interaction
in the coming years will be strengthened to the mutual benefit of our
two countries. We look forward to working closely with you to consolidate
our bilateral relationship even further.
assure you of the fullest cooperation of my Government in the performance
of your duties. Please accept our best wishes for a fulfilling and successful
tenure in India.