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Speech by the Ambassador on the opening of the Asian Studies Programme for 2014-2015 at the University of Lisbon, on Thursday, September 25, 2014

Posted on: May 03, 2015 | Back | Print

Professor Doctor Paulo Farmhouse Alberto;

Ambassador Rajiv Sikri;

Professor Doctor Luis Filipe Barreto;

And Friends,

1. On behalf of the Embassy of India, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the

opening of the Asian Studies Programme of the University of Lisbon for 2014-2015. We are

honoured that this year’s programme begins with a talk on India, and I would like to express our

gratitude to the university for organising today’s event. May I extend a warm welcome to

Ambassador Rajiv Sikri, former Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, and one of India’s

most distinguished diplomats? He has travelled all the way from India to speak to us, and we are

very grateful for this. Let me assure you that the Embassy of India will continue working with

the university to develop a strong India studies programme. With the success in placing the

Mangalyaan spacecraft in the Mars orbit, we do indeed have an auspicious start.

2. In my last eight months of stay in Portugal I have keenly felt the interest in India, but not

a lot of knowledge about our country. As you are aware, India is moving on, and our highest

priority is the development of the economy, within the framework of our democracy, to give a

better life to our people. India has been energised by the resetting of Indian politics and the

installation of the government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party. We have clear directives from

our government to work to our utmost capability for India’s betterment. Within the European

Union Portugal is an important partner in this endeavour.

3. Friends, delivering a contemporary relationship with Portugal is an important part of our

work. Thus, we want to develop strong links with universities, think tanks and the media, to

create a better understanding of India in Portugal. Over the next year, we shall have a series of

talks on India by distinguished visitors. The next talk in October will be by Doctor Amalendu

Misra of Lancaster University.

4. We also wish to develop cultural ties. Distinguished representatives of the Portuguese

Yoga Confederation and exponents of Indian classical dance are here with us today. I thank all

of you for supporting us.

5. The University of Lisbon has made stellar efforts in developing India studies. A prime

example is your Hindi language programme under the leadership of Professor Shiv Kumar

Singh. I am glad to note that there were sixty five students in the Hindi language programme in

2013-2014. During my last visit to the university, these students showed notable skills not only

in written but spoken Hindi as well. The Central Hindi Institute, Agra has already taken two

students on scholarships this year and this will continue. We shall continue to support your Hindi

language programme. On September the thirtieth, we shall celebrate Hindi Day, and World

Hindi Day in January, 2015.

6. Again, I congratulate the university on the inauguration of the Asian Studies Programme

for 2014-2015. As an expression of our gratitude for your work on India, I have great pleasure in

making a presentation of a set of books on India by distinguished Indian and international


7. Thank you very much. Muito Obrigado.