Diaspora will help improve ties, says Portuguese PM

Published - January 08, 2017 10:56 pm IST - Bengaluru:

Son of the soil:  Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa addressing the Indian diaspora in Bangalore.  — Photo: AP

Son of the soil: Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa addressing the Indian diaspora in Bangalore. — Photo: AP

The Indian diaspora, which is well integrated in Portugal and contributing to the nation’s development, is willing to help improve ties between the two countries, Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Sunday.

Soon after he started his speech, Mr. Costa surprised the audience when he revealed that he was of Indian origin and proud of it. “It is true. Officially, I am a person with roots in India.”

“I’m doing my part and contributing to the development of both Portugal and India,” said Mr. Costa, who traces his roots to Madgaon in Goa.

“Members of the diaspora in Portugal are willing to contribute and support this cause.”

Mr. Costa said Portugal received everyone with open arms —whether they were coming to invest, work, study or to simply live there.

He said the contribution of Indians to the Portuguese society was highly valued and the diaspora too was contributing to the Indian society. “Portugal and India have a centuries-old relationship — historical, cultural and personal.”

“Maybe, it is not by chance that I am the first person of Indian origin to lead a European country. Ability to interact with people from outside the country, culture or religion is part of the Portuguese DNA,” he said.

Later, recalling his Indian connection, Mr. Costa said he still had relatives in Madgoan. “Madgoan is the place where my father spent his childhood and had a home. I will visit my relatives.”

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