Deepening ties, India and Portugal today inked seven pacts to boost engagement in a wide range of areas including defence and security, IT and renewable energy even as they took a veiled dig at China for stalling New Delhi’s move at the UN to designate JeM Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
In wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa, while agreeing to deepen the ties, also called for tough global action against terror networks and States harbouring them stressing that there should not be any double standards in combating terrorism. In a statement to the media, Modi said he and Costa, who traces his origin to Goa, discussed the need for the global community to take strong and urgent action against the rapidly growing and widely spreading threats of violence and terror.
“Recognising the importance of the Central role of UN in combating terrorism, they exhorted the international community to effectively implement the measures enumerated by the 1267 UN Sanctions Committee,” a joint statement issued after the talks said. On December 30, China had blocked India’s move to list Pakistan-based Azhar as a terrorist, at the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.
China was the only member at the 15-nation panel to have opposed India’s move. The joint statement called for combating terrorism in a spirit of ‘zero tolerance’, underlining that States should not support any terror entity including ‘non-State actors’ on any grounds. The two leaders also called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and sought adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN. The Prime Minister said the talks covered full range of India-Portugal ties across various sectors.
“We agreed that the two countries must focus on action oriented approach to realise the full potential of economic opportunities in our partnership. The agreements signed today are just one indication of our shared resolve to do exactly that,” he said. The statement said the two prime ministers looked forward to the signing of the Protocol amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and to early ratification of the Social Security Agreement by Portugal to enable it to enter into force. Modi also thanked Costa for Portugal’s support to India’s membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime, and for its continued support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The MoU on defence envisages cooperation meeting security challenges, including in the maritime domain and defence industries. On defence cooperation, Modi invited Portuguese companies to participate in the ‘Make in India’ initiative and set up joint ventures and commercial partnerships based on joint production and technology transfer. The other MoUs signed provided for cooperation in areas of information technology and electronics, agricultural trade including market access for agricultural products, deeper engagement in renewable energy and marine research. The two sides also decided to work together in strengthening bilateral economic and commercial ties in third countries, and issued a joint declaration in this regard.