Friday, June 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Portugal backs India’s claim to SC seat
From Amar Chandel
Tribune News service

LISBON, June 29 — India’s claim to a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council gained further impetus last night when Portugal extended support to it.

The Portuguese Prime Minister, Mr Antonio Guterres, said after his meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee: ‘India’s claim deserves our full sympathy’. When quizzed whether the claim would translate into actual support, he replied in the affirmative by saying: ‘We sympathise with those whom we like to support’.

The two sides had convergence of views on the need to restructure the United Nations. They also shared views on the need for the Security Council to reflect the world of the 21st century. Mr Vajpayee highlighted the fact that developing countries constituted an overwhelming majority of the UN membership. They agreed that the inclusion of India in the Security Council would help project the perspective of developing countries and make it more representative. On any objective criteria, India’s credentials for permanent membership were persuasive.

Interestingly, Portugal is also backing the claim of Brazil for a permanent seat in the Security Council. When this fact was pointed out by a journalist at the joint press conference of the two Prime Ministers, Mr Vajpayee said: ‘Mr Guterres mentioned this during our meeting.’ India’s claim does not clash with that of Brazil because the two countries will represent different regions in the Security Council.

One of the high tide-marks of Mr Vajpayee’s official visit to Portugal, which is the first ever by an Indian Prime Minister, is the commitment made by the two countries to make a conscious effort to add a strong economic dimension to the traditionally warm political relations.

To facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation, a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement was signed between the two countries.

The Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and the Portuguese Foreign Minister, Mr Jaime Gama, signed a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement (BIPA) in the presence of the two Prime Ministers. India and Portugal have decided to establish a joint working group for cooperation in the field of information technology.

The agreement provides for most favoured nation treatment to investors and investments. It also provides for national treatment to investments by investors of the other contracting party. There is a provision for free transferrability of funds connected with investments. For settlements of disputes as between the two governments as also between the investors and the host government, there are elaborate provisions, including international arbitration. Provisions also exist for protection against expropriation, compensation for losses in special circumstances. Entry and sojourn of personnel for the purpose of investments is also to be permitted in accordance with the laws and regulations of the host government.

India has signed BIPA with 37 countries, including most of the countries in Europe. It has also finalised agreement with five other countries. Besides, such agreements have been negotiated with 14 more countries.

The two sides also discussed regional and global developments of mutual relevance. The Kashmir issue too came up for discussion during the talks.

The Indian Prime Minister said India and Portugal had agreed to cooperate in multilateral forums to develop an organised and collective strategy for defeating the scourge of terrorism. ‘I have discussed with Mr Guterres the Indian draft of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism which will be taken up by the next UN General Assembly,’ Mr Vajpayee disclosed. India looks forward to Portuguese support for the draft, which addresses the deficit in existing international conventions.

Mr Vajpayee extended an invitation to President Sampaio and Mr Guterres to visit India.

Regular consultations will be held between the foreign offices of the two countries to enhance mutual understanding on issues of contemporary relevance in the bilateral, regional and multilateral spheres.

Mr Vajpayee briefed Mr Guterres about India’s ongoing reforms.

He said he was returning to Delhi with a deep sense of satisfaction and the confidence that India and Portugal could build on this spirit of friendship and cooperation. 

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