Dr. Mario Soares, the Portugueso Foreign Minister, arrived in New Delhi on Friday (27 December)?
Dr. Mario Soares, the Portugueso Foreign Minister, arrived in New Delhi on Friday (27 December) for a five-day visit to India which ends 20 years of disagreement between the two countries.
Dr. Soares told newsmen on arrival from Somalia that he had come to establish the basis for a policy of co-operation and friendship with India.
He will sign a treaty formalising Portugal's recognition that Goa and its other former enclaves are part of India. Resumption of diplomatic relations, broken off in 1955, is also expected as a result of Dr. Soares's visit.
On Saturday (28 December) Dr. Soares flew from New Dolhi to Goa, accompanied by his wife and daughter as well as an official delegation. He received the freedom of the city of Panjim, capital of Goa and said he was overwhelmed by his friendly reception. He added: "I have come on a journey of reconciliation and of friendship".
The new Portuguese Government announced in September that it recognised Indian sovereignty over Goa, Daman and Diu, which were seized by Indian troops in 1961.
SYNOPSIS: There's been a warm welcome for Portuguese Foreign Minister Mario Soares in Delhi, where his visit has ended more than two decades of disputes between his country and India. A prime purpose of the trip was to draw up a treaty under which Portugal will formally recognise India's sovereignty over Goa and two other enclaves conquered by Portugal in the sixteenth century. Antagonism over these territories led India to break off diplomatic relations with Portugal twenty years ago. Dr. Soares is the first Portuguese Minister to visit India since then.
Dr. Soares said during his visit that the past was unimportant, and called on the two countries to forge a future based on co-operation and friendship. After talks with Indian Premier Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Dr. Soares and members of his family took off to visit the former colony of Goa - siezed by Indian troops in 1961.
At Panjim, capital of Gao, Dr. Soares was to receive the freedom of the city. And he was also to venerate the remains of the Portuguese Jesuit Saint, Francis Xavier, a sixteenth century missionary whose remarkably preserved body is at present being exhibited for pilgrims.
Dr. Soares was scheduled to return to Delhi early this week for further talks with Indian leaders -- and for the formal signing of the agreement ending over four-hundred and sixty-years of Portuguese presence in India. Though Indian Premier Nehru surprised the world in 1961 by seizing the enclaves, Portugal had continued to regar them as part of the nation's overseas territory, until the coup in Lisbon early in 1974 brought about the current change in policy. Dr. Soares has said that he hopes both countries will be able to resume normal diplomatic relations soon after the signing of their new agreement.