I feel extremely honoured that I got the opportunity to come here and I am really grateful to the Honourable Prime Minister and the government of Portugal for this grand welcome. This welcome is not just to a single person but to the 125 crore Indians.
This Radhakrishna temple is a symbol of social consciousness here. I got the privilege to meet the People from all communities and their representatives. There is no line of discrimination and this itself is India's specialty; this diversity is the identity of India and this is also the strength of India.
Few days back, in an unfortunate incident, several innocent lives were lost to a forest fire. I offer my heartfelt condolences to them and may god give their families immense strength.
Portugal shares a cultural heritage with India in general and with Gujarat in particular. We have all been hearing that when Vasco da Gama had arrived in India, they say, - a Gujarati named Kanji Malam had guided Vasco Da Gama and with his help, Vasco Da Gama reached India. Kanji had left Gujarat to settle in Africa. He met Vasco Da Gama at a harbour there; and from there he decided to make his journey to India. So, with the help of Kanji Malam, India’s trade relations with Portugal and the entire Europe were established. So we share an age old relationship which in itself is significant.
It is true that for the first time in 70 years, a Prime Minister from India has come here for a bilateral visit and I got this privilege for the same. Our Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had come here, though not for a bilateral visit but for a conference of the European Union. I got this privilege today. Several issues and topics have been discussed with the honourable PM of Portugal and a number of important decisions have been taken. I believe that the decisions that have been taken keeping in mind the experiences and strengths of both the countries shall help us to stride ahead together.
The great leader of Portugal, Mr. Mario Soares, was present as the Chief Guest of the Republic Day function of India in the year 1992. During his period, relations between India and Portugal received a new impetus, a new dimension. Unfortunately he expired during his stay in India, and then the people of India had paid tribute to him on the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. So this bond of love and respect exists between India and Portugal.
Sometime back, I had the privilege of meeting the former Prime Minister and the incumbent Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres in Russia and I was extremely elated to have long discussions with him. He provided beautiful insights on Yoga. He said that all his family members were associated with Yoga. Even today I saw that the citizens here performed Yoga very well. They beautifully chanted the Omkar Mantra – “Om Namah Shivay”. Today Prime Minister was discussing with me about the Holistic Health Care, Preventive Health Care and Low-Cost Health Care. And with great confidence he asserted that in Portugal they could very well begin a ‘movement of wellness’ through yoga. They are going to train the school children in yoga. I congratulate the Prime Minister, as Portugal is leading the Europe in promoting the movement of yoga. On the International Yoga Day on June 21 when the whole world was celebrating Yoga, at that time, Portugal also participated with great enthusiasm and zeal. I congratulate all the yoga lovers of Portugal for this. When the Prime himself has blessed this Zero-Cost Health Care for human welfare, the movement of yoga, I am confident that it is going to be one of his greatest contributions and the people of Portugal will remember him for centuries.
Portugal is world renowned for start-ups. The ‘start-up movement’ got an impetus because of the youth of Portugal, its talent and pro-active policies of the government. Portugal can be a creative hub of start-ups. Today India and Portugal have launched a portal through which the young people working in the field of start-ups and innovation will be able to share their experiences and achievements thereby creating a global platform. In the past, more than seven hundred youngsters engaged with the work of start-ups and innovation from all over India had participated in a start-up event that had been organised here. It indeed was a motivational programme.
Portugal is associated with India in the field of sports also. And when it comes to sports, the first name that comes to everyone’s mind is Cristiano Ronaldo. Such talented personalities are the source of inspiration for the people in the field of football worldwide. The Indian footballers are revitalised with a fresh energy and zeal just by Ronaldo's name. So these are the several areas where we can work together. We have the democratic values. We are such nations of the world that believe in working with other nations in a cooperative manner. Together, we not only can contribute to the welfare of India and Portugal, but can also significantly contribute to the welfare of the entire world. And I feel that today we have got that opportunity. I can feel its strength.
Brothers and sisters, India is moving at a rapid pace. India is reaching the new heights of development. India is lucky that she is a young country today. 65% of the population is under 35 years of age. The country which has such a huge population of youth tends to have young dreams. India is striving to cross new horizons by taking these dreams forward. India is now touching new horizons of development in every field.
For the past three years, I have had the opportunity to serve as a Principal servant to the country and you must have realized that; news must have been reaching you. And nowadays, due to social media many things are easily available. There must be a lot of people who might have downloaded the Narendra-Modi App in their mobile phones. If you haven’t, then please do that. I will stay in your pockets every moment. I'm available in your mobile phones. You must be receiving information from time to time on the introduction of every project in India; their progress and the details of those projects.
In the field of space science, the youth of India, the scientists of India have done wonders. Thirty Nano-satellites were launched by India's Space Scientists yesterday. A few days ago our space scientists created a World Record. The world was stupefied by the launch of 104 satellites together. India possesses such a power thus India has been scaling new heights of development with a new zeal.
The financial sector is also getting transformed. Rules and regulations are getting modified. Several new avenues have been opened up for Foreign Direct Investment. New Infrastructure has been created keeping in mind the demands of the 21st century in India. India is ceaselessly trying to develop its roads and railways according to the 21st century’s global benchmarks and is moving forward at a faster pace.
India’s Tourism sector too has drawn the attention of the world today at an intensity never seen before. India has become a centre of attraction as the world is showing greater interest in knowing, understanding India more. For the last one year, the number of foreign tourists has been increasing in India. In every field, India is scaling new heights of development.
And I am delighted to say that the Indian diaspora all over the world have kept their traditions and cultural heritage alive. Several Indians across the three-four generations may be present here who are equally proud of India’s great traditions. But they work with equal dedication for that country too which is providing them their daily bread and butter. You are working with the same passion for Portugal as well. One unique feature of the Indian society is that its people easily mingle with the local population and contribute to the development of that society, keeping their cultural traditions alive. We have an accommodative nature because we have been raised in a society which is diverse- where hundred languages and more than 1700 dialects are being spoken. Food habit also changes after every 20 miles. They have the ability to assimilate the diversity of the world and due to these values they gain acceptance from every society of the world. You and your ancestors have done this work. In a way, you, my fellow Indians, are working as true ambassadors of India. I congratulate you all with a heartfelt gratitude.
I had this opportunity to be present here. Thanks a lot. Thank you very much all of you. Viva Portugal!