Agreement of Indian Citizens to Work in Portugal

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    In News 

    • Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the signing of an agreement between India and Portugal on the recruitment of Indian citizens to work in that European country. 

    About 

    • The present agreement would set an institutional mechanism for partnership and cooperation between India and Portugal on sending and accepting Indian workers.
    • Implementation Strategy:
      • Under this agreement, a Joint Committee will be set up to follow up the implementation of the same.
    • Benefits:
    • This agreement will add a new destination for Indian migrant workers in an EU member nation, especially in the context of many Indian workers who have returned to India following the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • Indian workers would have enhanced job opportunities to work in Portugal. T
    • The Government-to-Government mechanism proposed in the agreement will ensure that the movement of workers happens smoothly with maximum support from both sides.
    • It will provide new opportunities for skilled Indian workers and professionals. 

    India and Portugal Relations 

    • Historical : 
      • Relations between India and Portugal date back to over 500 years when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama led a seafaring expedition to Calicut (Kozhikode) in Kerala in May 1498, making him the first to discover a direct sea route between Europe and South Asia, across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent. 
        • The Portuguese colonial era in India began in 1502 AD when the Portuguese established their first European trading centre at Kollam (formerly Quilon) in Kerala. 
        • This enabled Portugal to directly access the highly profitable Indian spice market and emerge as a dominant colonial trading power.
    • Diplomatic Relations 
    • India’s relations with Portugal remain close and friendly. Relations began amicably in 1947 after India’s independence and diplomatic relations were established in 1949. 
    •  In 1974, India and Portugal signed a treaty recognising India’s sovereignty over Goa, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and related matters. With the signing of this treaty in New Delhi on December 31, 1974, diplomatic relations were re-established and an era of friendly bilateral relations began.
    • Multilateral Fora: The two countries share warm and friendly ties. Portugal and India cooperate actively in multilateral fora
      • India and Portugal have actively supported each other for various candidatures at the United Nations and other multilateral forums, including for UNSC non-permanent seats (India in 2021-22 and Portugal for 2027-28). 
      • On October 9, 2015, Portugal became the first European and western country, and only the fourth outside the East Asia Summit, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the Nalanda University in India.
    • Political Relations: Political relations between India and Portugal are warm and friendly. The election of Indian origin Antonio Costa as the Prime Minister of Portugal in November 2015 has energised bilateral relations. 
    • Portugal has a cross-party ‘India- Portugal Parliamentary Friendship Group’ which was reconstituted after the Parliamentary election in October 2015. 
    • Bilateral Trade: In 2019-20, bilateral trade amounted to US$886.60 million. Indian exports stood at US$744.79 million and Portuguese exports at US$141.82 million. The trade balance has consistently been in India’s favour.
      • Major exports from India are textiles and apparel including readymade garments, agriculture products; metals; chemicals; plastic and rubber; footwear; machinery and appliances; leather and its articles; vehicles and other transport materials. 
      • Major exports from Portugal are Machinery and appliances; metals; minerals; plastic and rubber; chemicals; textiles and apparel; leather; paper and pulp; wood and cork; optical and precision instruments.
    • Portuguese Investments in India: Portugal has initiated a Golden Visa scheme to attract non-European investors to Portugal. 
      • Portugal ranks 51st in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India, with total FDI inflows amounting to US$ 103.36 million as of December 2020, having more than doubled from around US$ 49 million in 2017.
    • Culture & Education: An MOU in Cultural cooperation was signed on June 24, 2017, during PM Modi’s visit to Portugal. 
      • A series of events showcasing Indian art and culture was organized in 2018, including commemoration of the 4th International Day of Yoga in June 2018 in association with the Portuguese Yoga Confederation and Jiya Festival of Dance at Orient Foundation with Nakshatra Productions (10 November 2018). 
    • Tourism & Sports: The Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism Ana Godinho visited Mumbai and Goa from 23-26 February 2017 to participate in the India International Film Tourism Conclave (IIFTC) 2017 in Mumbai. 
    • Defence cooperation: India and Portugal signed the first-ever MoU in defence cooperation during Portuguese PM Costa’s visit to India in January 2017. 
      • There are over 370 Portuguese defence companies under the Portuguese defence industry organisation idD with niche technologies in sectors like AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles), ammunition destruction through gas, shipbuilding, naval communication systems/equipment, navigational systems, robotics and automation, aeronautics, military clothing, etc. 
      • A Portuguese defence delegation anchored by IdD participated in the DEFEXPO in Lucknow in February 2020.
    • Science and Technology Cooperation: An Agreement for Cooperation in Science and Technology was signed in December 1998, establishing the Indo-Portuguese Joint Science & Technology Committee (JSTC). 
      • Every two years, the JSTC calls for research proposals and selects about 15 joint research projects in areas of mutual interest like Ocean Science, Biotechnology, Materials Science, IT, Nanotechnology, Chemical Sciences, and Engineering Sciences.
      • India was the first country to be invited by Portugal as ‘Guest Country’ at Portugal’s national science festival Ciência 2017 in July 2017.
    • Indian Community: Portugal has a large Indian origin diaspora with the community in Portugal estimated at around 70,000 individuals.
      • The Indian diaspora youth from Portugal has been participating in the ‘Know India’ Programme (two persons attended in 2016 and one in 2017).

    Source: ET