Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hailed the contributions of the more than 65,000 Indians in Portugal, saying they were India’s “real ambassadors” and have enriched the culture of the country they have made their home.
“Indians have carried their cultural heritage with them and have always been proud of them,” Modi said addressing the diaspora Indians in Lisbon.
The prime minister cited the diversity of language and taste in India to point out that Indians can adapt to the culture of the country they live. “You have effortlessly gelled with the culture of the country you have been,” he said.
Modi hailed Indians in Portugal as the “real ambassadors of India” in that country. On Portugal’s historic relations with India, Modi said the country is tied with India in many ways, including through sports. “Who has not heard of Christiano Ronaldo. His name fills every sportsperson in India with energy.”
He said Portugal has historical ties with India, but a special one with Gujarat and narrated the story of Kutch sailor Kanji Malam, who helped the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discover the sea route from Europe to India in 1497. Kanji Malam had navigated the commander to Calicut from Malindi on east African coast.
“The Radha Krishna Temple is the symbol of social conscience in Portugal. People here do not discriminate, and that is the identity of Indians, the diversity of India,” he said to the gathering after visiting the temple along with Prime Minister Antonia Costa, who is the first prime minister of Indian origin in Europe.
He also highlighted the role Portugal is playing in furthering the message of Yoga, an ancient Indian spiritual discipline. Modi thanked Costa for promoting wellness movement through yoga as a holistic health care practice.
Modi is the first Indian prime minister to visit Portugal for a bilateral trip, though Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited the country but it was for a European Union conference in 2000