Mumbai: Terming India as an "economic and social" global power, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Saturday said the country's priority is to have joint expertise in various areas of the economy.
A forum, organised by industry bodies, CII, ASSOCHAM and Ficci, was also attended by Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, Secretary of State of Internationalisation of Portuguese Republic, Eurico Brilhante Dias, and Union Minister for Railways and Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, besides industry leaders from the two countries.
"India is a global power. It's an economic global power, it is social global power. It is the largest democracy in the world. It is a trustable partner," Sousa said in his keynote address at the India-Portugal Business Forum here.
"We are trustable. The evolution about the economy shows it," the President said.
Stating that both India and Portugal know each other for a long time, Sousa said both Portugal and India are not just the European or Asian countries or cultures but they are "universal".
"We like building bridges. We are very good at it," he said adding that be it in the area of culture, education, scientific or economic, the nations are good at buildings bridges.
"For very long, we converged multilaterally, I mean established diplomatic relations," Sousa said.
The President said the two countries work with the world, for the world be it for the peace, freedom, sustainable development or climate change.
"The priority for us to have your expertise, our expertise, joint expertise as quickly. And this is the right time. First of all, India is a global power. It is an economic global power and is a social global power, it is the largest democracy in the world. He said the business community has a role to play in the economic bilateral because politicians create the framework. They open the way, they paved the way but they do not act in economics, in business every day."
Such forums are helpful in finding out in which field India can benefit from Portuguese expertise or vice versa.
He cited some of the industries and sectors such as tourism, renewable energies, ICT, environment, infrastructures, water, sanitation, public works, electrical mobility, construction and maritime transport, among others, as the some of the industries and sectors which had the potential for investment.
"The priority for us (is) to have your expertise, our expertise, joint expertise as quickly," Sousa said.
Addressing the forum, Goyal said both India and Portugal are focused on economic growth, investment, industry and innovation.
The minister said that during his meeting with the Portuguese business delegation on Friday, he did discuss various sectors such as real estate and infrastructure development.
In Goa, he suggested a government-to-government partnership to promote tourism and create the entire ecosystem around tourism.
"I believe if we were to work together to create a mini-Portugal in Goa, we could truly make it a preferred destination for visitors from around the world," Goyal said.
"I believe that it is an area which I hope during the your (President Sousa) visit to Goa, we can discuss with the government there," he said.
He said the Indian government is keen to expand its relationship with Portugal, he said.
"Also, as we look forward to expanding our relations with the European Union and as you assume the presidency of the EU in 2021, we do hope to see a great impetus in the EU-India ties under your presidency," Goyal said.
India has a number of opportunities to work together in several areas, he said adding that "the automobile sector is flourishing both in your country and in India. And, I am sure we can partner to look at electric mobility going forward to contribute to sustainability and the environment. There is a good potential for infrastructure and the construction industry".
He also said it has been decided to hold the next session of the India-Portugal Joint Economic Committee in India soon to review the gamut of the bilateral trade and economic relations.