About Us India-Portugal Relations

India – Portugal Relations

Historical Connections

  • Relations between India and Portugal date back to over 500 years when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama led a sea-faring expedition to Calicut (Kozhikode) in Kerala in May 1498, making him the first to discover a direct sea route between Europe and India, across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent. This enabled Portugal to directly access the highly profitable Indian spice market and emerge as a dominant colonial trading power.

  • In 1502 AD, the Portuguese established a trading centre at Kollam (formerly Quilon) in Kerala. They later acquired several other enclaves on the western coast including Diu, Daman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Goa in 1510. Goa subsequently became the capital of the Portuguese activities in the Orient, which stretched from Malacca (Malaysia) in the east to Mozambique in the west.

  • Relations between India and Portugal began amicably in 1947 after India’s independence and diplomatic relations were established in 1949. However, they soon went into decline in 1950 after Portugal's dictator Antonio Salazar refused to surrender the Portuguese enclaves. Indian military action under “Operation Vijay” liberated Goa on 19 December 1961, ending over 450 years of Portuguese rule. However, the strained diplomatic relations were restored following the Portuguese Carnation Revolution in April 1974 which overthrew Salazar’s  Estado Novo. India and Portugal finally signed a treaty on 31 December 1974 on recognition of India’s sovereignty over Goa, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and related matters. The treaty came into force on 3 June 1975.

  • While relations were cordial, bilateral engagement was sluggish owing to Portugal’s preoccupation with restoring domestic political stability and integrating with the EU and India’s focus also on its region. The exchanges of presidential visits in 1990, 1992 and 1998, followed by the visit of PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lisbon in 2000 for the first India-EU Summit and the visit of Portuguese PM José Socrates to Delhi for the 8th India-EU Summit during the 2007 Portuguese Presidency of the EU provided the much needed momentum to contemporary relations. The bilateral relations really gathered steam with the reciprocal visits by PM António Costa and PM Narendra Modi in January and June 2017 respectively, followed by the visit of PM Costa in December 2019 and the State Visit of President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to India in February 2020.

Political Relations

  • India’s relations with Portugal are warm and friendly. Portugal views India as a vibrant pluralistic democracy, a major world economy, and an ancient civilisation with which it has close historical and cultural ties. Portugal has consistently supported India’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The idea of starting an India-EU Summit was mooted for the first time by Portugal when the current UNSG Antonio Guterres was Prime Minister in Portugal and the first India-EU Summit was subsequently held in Lisbon under the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union in 2000. It was attended by PM A.B. Vajpayee.


High Level Visits
From India to Portugal:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi (24 June, 2017)
  • Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the First India-EU Summit in Lisbon under the Portuguese Presidency of the EU (June 2000)
  • President K. R. Narayanan (1998)
  • President R. Venkataraman (1990)

From Portugal to India:

  • State visit of the President of the Portuguese Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (13-16 February, 2020)
  • Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s visit to New Delhi to attend the meeting of the Organizing Committee on global commemorations of Bapu@150; he also had a bilateral meeting- with PM Modi (19 December, 2019)
  • State visit of Prime Minister António Costa (6-12 January, 2017)
  • Prime Minister José Sócrates visit to attend the 8th India-EU Summit during the 3rd Portuguese Presidency of the EU (December 2007)
  • President Aníbal Cavaco Silva (January 2007)
  • Visit of President Mário Soares as Chief Guest at the Republic Day Celebrations (January 1992)
  • Prime Minister Mário Soares to attend the funeral of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (October 1984)

Major Visits

  • PM Antonio Costa visited India from 7-12 January 2017 with a Ministerial and business delegation. PM Costa is the first Indian-origin Head of Government in the Western world. During the visit, 8 MoUs were signed in Defence, Agriculture, Marine Research, IT & Electronics, Startups, Renewable Energy etc., establishment of an ICCR Chair at the University of Lisbon etc. A Joint Stamp depicting the dances of both countries was released to commemorate 500 years of diplomatic relations. Portuguese novel Signo da Ira, set in Goa and authored by PM Costa’s father, was translated into English and released during the visit.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Portugal on June 24, 2017. During this first-ever  standalone bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Portugal, 11 MoUs were signed in areas like Space, avoidance of double taxation, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Public Administration and Governance Reforms, Culture, Youth & Sports, s and Higher Education (IITs).

  • On 19 December 2019, PM Costa visited India to attend a meeting of the Organising Committee overseeing the 2-year global commemorations of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (Bapu@150), set up by PM Modi.

  • Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa accompanied by three Ministers, Parliamentarians and business people visited India from February 13-16, 2020. 32 MOUs/ outcomes were signed. President Sousa visited Delhi, Mumbai and Goa.

  • From 12-14 September 2021, Minister of State for External Affairs (MoS) Meenakshi Lekhi paid an official visit to Portugal to review bilateral relations with her counterpart, Secretary of State (SoS) for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Francisco André. They signed the Bilateral Agreement on the Recruitment of Indian Citizens to Work in Portugal. The agreement is to establish an institutional mechanism for partnership and cooperation between India and Portugal on sending and receiving Indian workers through legal channels. Portugal is the first EU country with which India has signed a dedicated agreement on labour mobility. It is also the first such document signed by Portugal with a non-EU partner.

  • From 26-27 April 2022, the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs João Gomes Cravinho participated in the Raisina Dialogues’ panel on world expectations chaired by EAM Dr S Jaishankar. They also had a bilateral meeting with EAM reaffirming our relationship, during his visit to New Delhi.

  • From 27 June to 1 July 2022, an official delegation led by the Minister of State (IC) for Science and Technology and Minister of State (IC) for Earth Sciences Jitendra Singh visited Portugal to participate in the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

  • Secretary of State for Energy and Climate, Ana Fontoura Gouveia visited Bengaluru to participate in the India Energy Week from 6-8 January 2023. During the visit, she met with Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Housing & Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri and held discussions on bilateral energy cooperation.

  • 6 Members of 15th legislature of the Portuguese National Assembly, (including the Presidents of the Youth Wing of the ruling party PS and the Opposition PSD and the President of the Portuguese Parliament Delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union), participated in the 9th Gen Next Programme organized by Indian Council for Cultural Relations from 10-19 April 2023.

  • External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar paid an official visit to Portugal from 31 October - 1 November, 2023. This was his first official visit to Portugal and the first by an EAM in more than two decades.  During the visit he called on Prime Minister H.E. Antonio Costa and President of the Portuguese Parliament (Assembly of the Republic) H.E. Augusto Santos Silva. He held delegation level talks with his counterpart Foreign Minister H.E. Joao Gomes Cravinho.
  • Ambassador Rui Vinhas, Director General for Foreign Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal  travelled to India to participate in the 4th Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between India and Portugal, which was held in New Delhi on 31 January 2024, and was co-chaired by Secretary(West).


Cooperation 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). Mr António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, assumed office as UNSG on January 1, 2017.

  • India was formally accepted as an associate observer in the 13th CPLP summit held in Luanda on 17 July 2021. India’s formal application and proposed Action Plans for the promotion of the Portuguese language were approved by the Council of Ministers' Meeting and formally endorsed at the Heads of States Summit. Several events have been organized including the celebration of World Portuguese Language day in collaboration with CPLP member countries in New Delhi in May 2022 which was attended by MoS Meenakshi Lekhi. Similarly a ‘Lusophone Cultural Week” is being planned to be held in Goa from 4-6 December 2022 with the participation of cultural troupes from all the CPLP member countries.

  • On 8 May 2021, the first full-fledged India-EU leadership Summit was held under the EU Presidency of Portugal with the participation of PM Modi, the EC and European Council Presidents and all 27 EU member state leaders. The Summit was conducted in a hybrid format owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ‘Joint Statement’ issued thereafter underlined the intention to boost cooperation in health security and pandemic crisis preparedness and response, especially in regard to Covid-19. It also addressed India-EU cooperation on issues like climate change, security, data protection, migration/mobility, modernisation and human rights. India and the EU vowed to resume trade talks, stalled since 2013 over market access issues. A virtual EU-India Business Roundtable with the presence of PM Costa and CIM was held on 8 May, encompassing sector debates on climate, health and digitalisation.

Trade and Investment

  • As per Government of India’s data, India-Portugal trade in FY 2022-23 amounted to US$1,201.41 million. Indian exports stood at US$1,005.41 million and Portuguese exports at US$196 million.

Financial Year (April-March)




































Figures in US$ million

  • Major Indian exports to Portugal: Textiles and apparel including ready-made garments; agriculture products; metals; chemicals; plastic and rubber; footwear; machinery and appliances; leather and its articles; vehicles and transport materials.

  • Major Portuguese exports to India: Machinery and appliances; metals; minerals; plastic and rubber; chemicals; textiles and apparel; paper and pulp; wood and cork; optical and precision instruments.

  • Investment: Portugal ranks 50th in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India with total cumulative FDI equity inflows from 2000-2022 worth US$ 120.91 million (DPIIT; June 2022). Major Portuguese companies present in India include Visabeira, Vision Box (technology company), Portind Shoe Accessories (ancillary of the Portuguese footwear manufacturer Soprefa); Martifer (metals); Efacec (industrial machinery, equipment and tools); and the Petrotec Group (retail petroleum and oil distribution industry).

  • Indian investments in Portugal are estimated to be in the range of up to US$ 450 million. Major Indian companies include Generis (part of the Aurobindo Pharma Group), the MGM Group (hotels), the Sugee Group (real estate) as well as Mahindra. WIPRO, HCL, TCS and Zomato.

  • Potential areas for Portuguese companies in India include Infrastructure & Construction, Renewable Energy (especially solar and wind power), Footwear, Textiles, Tourism & Hospitality, Defence & Aerospace, IT & Electronics, Water & Waste Management, Startups, Agriculture & Food Processing. The Portugal-India Business Hub (PIB Hub), a diaspora initiative has been established for supporting bilateral business initiatives.

  • A Joint Economic Committee exists at the level of Ministers of State for Commerce from both sides. The 5th Joint Committee Meeting took place in New Delhi on 8 April 2021. Bilateral Joint Working Groups are in such fields as: (i) IT & Electronics (ii) Renewable Energy; (iii) Defence; (iv) Agriculture and Allied Sector; 

Defence Cooperation

  • India and Portugal signed an MoU in defence cooperation in January 2017. Both sides have regularly exchanged delegations and participated in the defence expos.

  • On 17 June 2022, the Indian Navy training ship INS Tarangini called on the Port of Lisbon as part of its Lokayan-2022 voyage, which included visits to 17 ports in 14 different countries before hoisting the Indian flag in London as part of the AKAM celebrations. Members of the local Indo-Portuguese community, interlocutors and media persons were also present on the sailing ship, about which an article was later published on the website of the newspaper Diário de Notícias on 21 June. On its return trip, the INS Tarangini called at the port of Porto from 26-28 August where its crew members enjoyed professional interactions and visits to Portuguese naval ships and installations.

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). The 6th JSTC meeting was held in virtual mode on 14 March 2023, which reviewed the status of collaboration. Discussions covered the setting up of a new joint fund of €4 million for joint research in Science & Technology, projects under the joint call for collaborative research projects, identifying new areas for collaboration such as green hydrogen, net zero emission programmes for industry, exchange of young scientists and startups.
  • An India-Portugal Technology Summit was held virtually from 7-9 in December 2020. The summit included thematic sessions on Healthtech, Cleantech, Energy, Climate Change Watertech, Agrotech, Space-Ocean Interactions and IT/ICT & Advanced technologies. Minister of Science & Technology, Health and Family Welfare and Earth Sciences inaugurated the summit and the digital exhibition on 7 December that was also addressed by Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Manuel Heitor.

Cultural Cooperation

  • An MOU on Cultural cooperation was signed on 24 June 2017 during PM Modi’s visit to Portugal. A large number of cultural performances, youth and literary exchanges, seminars, art exhibitions etc. have been held across Portugal.

  • Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, India@75 - An initiative of the Government of India to commemorate 75 years of progressive India and its glorious history of it’s people, culture and achievements. Several events have been organized notably LED Tricolor Projection on the statue of King Joseph I located in the Praça do Comércio, Lisbon on India’s Independence day 2021, lectures on Yoga and Ayurveda, celebration of International day of Yoga, Gandhi Jayanti, Ekta Diwas, Mahaparinirvan Diwas, Parakram Diwas , Tagore birth anniversary etc commemorating the life and teaching of the great Indian leaders. A special iconic week was celebrated in the month of January 2022 showcasing India’s rich cultural heritage through art, dance, music, cuisines etc.

  • President of ICCR Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe visited Portugal in June 2023. He participated in the commemoration of the International Day of Yoga held on 21 June 2023 organised in front of the iconic Belem tower in Lisbon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The event, which saw the participation of around 750 people, included Common Yoga Protocol session conducted by instructors from the Portuguese Yoga Federation, guided meditation as well as classical dance performances.

Academic and Youth Exchanges

  • Regular academic exchanges were being held until the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions. Indian diaspora youth from Portugal have so far participated in the ‘Know India’ Programme(KIP) and in the ‘Know Goa’ Programme(KGP). Under the framework of the MoU in the field of Youth Exchange & Sports, a 10-member Indian youth delegation visited Portugal (Jan-Feb 2018) . Reciprocating the visit, a 10-member Portuguese youth delegation visited India (September, 2019).

  • The Centre for Indian Studies at the University of Lisbon, started in 2016 is the first such centre dedicated to the study of India in Portugal and hosts a Distinguished Lecture series on art, culture and also organizes conference on art and culture and also organizes a conference on Hindi. Many students also take Hindi classes offered by the centre.

Indian community in Portugal

  • The Indian origin diaspora in Portugal is estimated to number around 1,25,000. This includes 35,902 Indian nationals (as per the latest official data from Portuguese Border & Immigration Services- SEF) and an estimated 90,000 persons of Indian origin including 10,519 OCI card holders, belonging to different walks of life. The community is mainly concentrated in the Lisbon metropolitan region, the Algarve region in the South and Porto in the north.

As on February 2024