Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who is on a two-day tour to Goa, the land of his ancestors, said his visit to the state has a strong emotional side and personal motivation. He expressed hope that his visit to the coastal state would contribute towards stronger ties between Portugal and India.
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“I am very proud for visiting my father’s land as a Prime Minister, in particular as the first Prime Minister of Indian origin. As you can understand, this visit has a strong emotional side and a personal motivation,” Costa said. He was speaking in response to the tribute given to him by Goan Civil Society in Panaji.
“It is my pleasure to meet my aunt and cousins and get to visit the house where my father lived. I am deeply honoured with the release of two of my father’s books,” 55-year-old Costa said after unveiling the English translations of the books written by his father Orlando Costa.
Costa, who is scheduled to visit his ancestral house in Margao town tomorrow, said, “My father went to Lisbon, (but) he never left Goa, because Goa never left him. From Konkani (language), we were only taught two words ‘babush’ and ‘babulo’…these words my father used when he talked to me and my brother.”
The Portugal PM said as a person of Indian origin, he was honoured to get an invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit India. “This is not just one more visit to a foreign country. I met Indian diaspora during the Pravasi Diwas and participated in Vibrant Gujarat Summit,” he added.
According to him, India and Portugal have signed agreements in the areas such as science and technology, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and defence.
“I hope my visit to Goa will contribute for more advanced and forward-looking partnership. This partnership can be based on strong emotional, cultural and personal ties. In my thinking, we can take advantage of the two economies,” he added.
“We must take advantage of this relationship from our permanent history towards new partnership for 21st Century,” Costa said. Earlier in the day, the Portugese PM was accorded a warm welcome by the state. However, the formal welcome programme was withdrawn at the Portugal government’s request as the people there are mourning the death of former President Mario Soares, the founder of democracy in that country.
Costa held talks with Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on ties in tourism, science, oceanography, language and heritage. Parsekar said Goa has age-old ties with the European nation. “Of course after liberation (from Portuguse rule in 1961), in the last 55 years we have been doing well, but Common Civil Code is gift to this state by Portugal,” he said. The CM also said Portugal also stood with the country in its fight against terrorism.