Science & tech fund, start-up hub among 11 deals signed by India, Portugal

India and Portugal on Saturday launched the India-Portugal International Startup Hub (IPISH) and also announced a four million euro joint fund to bolster research in science and technology as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in-depth talks with his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa. The talks also focussed on cooperation in areas like counter-terrorism, space and climate studies.

In a joint address to the media after the signing of 11 bilateral agreements, Modi and his counterpart said the two countries have made substantial progress in their relations in the past six months.

The agreements signed included cooperation in outer space, double taxation avoidance, nano technology, improving cultural ties, youth and sports, higher education and scientific research, and Portugal-India business hub and Indian Chamber of Commerce.

“We held wide-ranging discussions today. The Portuguese economic rebound and strong Indian growth offer excellent opportunities for us to grow together,” Modi, the first India prime minister in Portugal on a bilateral visit, said.

On IPISH, the hub’s official website said that it is a platform developed to strengthen and foster the connection between the startup ecosystem of the two countries, including startups, investors, mentors, incubators, accelerators, aspiring entrepreneurs, service providers and government bodies.

“Start-up sphere is an interesting space for cooperation. It is a great means to generate value and wealth for society,” Modi said.

The platform has been initiated by Startup India and supported by the Commerce & Industry Ministry and Startup Portugal to create a mutually supportive entrepreneurial partnership.

IPISH hosts a range of tools and will provide information on the start-up hotspots of Bangalore, Delhi and Lisbon; and on associated subjects, such as policy, taxation, and visa options. It will develop a Go-To-Market Guide to support start-ups. It is also expected to establish a network of honorary ambassadors based in India and Portugal to guide start-ups from both countries.

On the other hand, speaking on bilateral collaboration in cutting-edge technology, Modi also announced the setting up of a joint science and technology fund of four million euros.

“Our economic ties continue to follow an upward trajectory, and we can do more for the flow of goods, services, capital and human resources,” he said.

“We are also determined to deepen our cooperation against terrorism and violent extremism,” he said and thanked Lisbon for its “consistent support” for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council and multilateral export control regimes.

Modi is the first Indian prime minister in Portugal for a bilateral visit. He has said his one-day visit to the country will further strengthen relations between India and Portugal.

Earlier, Modi held bilateral talks with Portugal’s Prime Minister Costa who is partially of Indian-origin.