About Us Indian Community in Portugal

Indian Community in Portugal

India and Portugal have longstanding ties of shared heritage; especially since Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama found the sea-route from Europe to India in 1498.  Subsequently, Goa, Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were colonised.

  • Almost 500 years of colonial rule in Goa meant that the Portuguese built lasting linkages in all areas – language, food, art, culture, architecture, music etc. Prime Minister Antonio Costa, whose father grew up in Goa, is the first major leader in the West of Indian origin and holds an OCI card. It is also reflected in the diversity of Portugal´s Indian-origin diaspora, which comprises 25,000 Indian nationals and around 9500 OCI/PIO card holders. However, the numbers are much higher of people claiming Indian linkages. The community is mainly concentrated in the Lisbon metropolitan region, the Algarve region in the South and Porto in the north.
  • The Indian-origin community largely includes those who came from Goa, Daman and Diu and those (mostly of Gujarati origin from Mozambique and Angola) who arrived here in the 70s, when Portugal´s rule ended in its colonies like Angola and Mozambique. More recently, people from from the states of Punjab and Haryana have moved into in sectors like agriculture or construction and hospitality. The Embassy organizes periodic consular camps in Albufeira (Algarve Region) and Porto in partnership with the Indian community as an outreach exercise and to facilitate consular services to the community. The Consular section of the Embassy has also been equipped with a ramp to make it easily accessible for all persons as part of the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan ( Accessible India Campaign).
  • The cultural impact of the strong Indian diaspora in Portugal can be seen in the popularity of Yoga,  Ayurveda, Indian products etc. The community also has its places of worship that act as centres for bringing people together. They also have a vibrant annual cultural calendar of festivities and celebrations. Several yoga studios, Indian restaurants, Indian dance and performing arts schools, museums and art galleries with sections on India, specifically Goa, streets named after and statues and busts of Mahatma Gandhi etc are all visible symbols of a thriving contemporary relationship.
  • Cinema halls screen popular Indian films regularly. Bollywood dances are populars. Under a recent scheme of incentives of Portuguese Govt. to shooting of foreign films, over a dozen Indian films have been shot here including the 2019 block-buster War. There is a dedicated diaspora radio station 'Swagat', regular broadcast of Indian content on RTP and SIC (TV broadcasters), popular Indian TV channels are also available in Portugal.

  • Every year on 9 January, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated commemorating the contribution of all diaspora members from different walks of life. Mr Abdool Vakil, a prominent member of the Indian diaspora was awarded Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in 2007. 
  • 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 and in the ‘Know Goa’ Programme. 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 Hindi. Many students also take Hindi classes offered by the centre.

14 February 2022