New Delhi: India and Portugal held the third round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) in Lisbon where the two sides reviewed bilateral relations and discussed cooperation in defence, cultural and people-to-people relations among others.

The consultations were co-chaired by Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) in MEA and envoy Rui Vinhas, Director General for Foreign Policy in Portugal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Diplomat Verma also called on Francisco Andre, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation in Portugal, a Ministry of External Affairs press release read.

The two sides carried out a comprehensive review of bilateral relations with a focus on issues like high-level political engagements, implementation of migration and mobility agreement, deepening of trade and economic ties and explored new and existing co-operation avenues in science and technology, defence, cultural and people-to-people relations, etc.

The two sides also exchanged views on global and regional issues of common interest and agreed to work closely in multilateral cooperation, including at the UN, the Communidade dos Paises da Lingua Portuguesa (CPLP) and at the EU level to follow up on the outcomes of the India-EU Leaders' Summit held in Porto in May 2021.

Both sides also agreed to work in new fields such as food sustainability, mutual recognition of educational qualifications, air connectivity, visa waivers and climate action. Secretary (West) also had substantive discussions with the Executive Secretary of CPLP, Zacarias da Costa to discuss cooperation with Lusophone countries.

The Indian side reiterated the invitation for the participation of CPLP countries in the Lusophone Festival proposed to be held at Goa in December 2022. India became an observer of the CPLP in July 2021, the press release added.

Secretary (West) also interacted with other officials, academicians, business representatives and members of the Indo-Portuguese community at a reception organised by the Mission where Millets based recipes were served to generate awareness about the International Year of Millets 2023 and food sustainability.

The Indian delegation earlier participated in the Europe-India Strategic Dialogue, a Track 1.5 initiative of Anant-Aspen Centre; Institut Montaigne, Paris and Fundacao Oriente, Lisboa; which touched upon issues such as free trade, energy, connectivity and regional security. Secretary (West) also interacted with Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho during a round table discussion organised by Fundacao Oriente.

India and Portugal share historic and friendly bilateral relations with shared values of democracy and sustainable development, strengthened by frequent high-level exchanges. Both sides agreed to hold the next round of Consultations at a mutually convenient date in New Delhi.