India, Portugal sign defence agreement

January 07, 2017 11:34 pm | Updated 11:35 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

In a bid to boost joint production and development of niche weapons systems, India and Portugal on Saturday entered into a defence agreement — one of the seven sealed during the Delhi visit of Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa.

The agreement came following Portugal’s support to India’s multilateral plans in various technology regimes including Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) where India secured membership in 2016. Following the meeting at the Hyderabad House, both the delegations issued a joint statement highlighting convergence of interests.

“Underscoring the substantial opportunities in India’s defence sector and the niche technological competencies of the Portuguese defence industry, Prime Minister Modi invited Portuguese companies to ‘Make in India’ and set up joint ventures and commercial partnerships based on joint production and technology transfer,” the joint statement stated.

Apart from the agreements on defence, visa-free travel for diplomats and marine research, both sides also issued a separate declaration for cooperation in third country. “Such projects should contribute to the local economy, regional connectivity and integration, in order to benefit third countries, by taking into account their priorities in terms of development and the needs of their people,” the declaration for bilateral cooperation in third countries stated.

‘My father’s country’

Earlier, on arriving in India, Mr. Costa announced that his family shared personal ties with India. “It is a great honour for me to be back in India, my father’s country, as the Prime Minister of Portugal,” he said on Twitter. Reciprocating his comments, Mr. Modi said, “You are neither a stranger to India, nor is India unfamiliar to you.”

Mr. Modi presented the guest with a copy of a novel by the late Goan novelist Orlando Costa, father of the visiting Prime Minister.

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