New Delhi: Ahead of his four-day trip to Vietnam beginning tomorrow, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday maintained that the South-East Asian nation was an important pillar in India's ' Look-East ' policy.
"We consider Vietnam as an important pillar in our Look East Policy. Vietnam has been a strategic partner for India both within ASEAN and in the wider region. We deeply appreciate Vietnam's support for India at all regional and international fora and look forward to further deepening this aspect of our cooperation," said President Mukherjee.
"With ASEAN integration acquiring momentum, we have deepened our regional interaction, stepped up initiatives to promote connectivity and expanded people-to-people links to enhance our role in the new era. I see India and Vietnam as partners, contributing to peace, prosperity and stability in the wider region," he added during his interview to the Vietnamese News Agency.
Giving his assessment on Indo-Vietnamese ties in the current situation, the President further added, " Bilateral relations between India and Vietnam are excellent. They have never been better than what they are today. Our Strategic Partnership, which was established in 2007, is now entering its eighth year of implementation. In recent years, our relations have witnessed a continuous broadening and deepening in all aspects. Our relations are marked by strong mutual trust, understanding, support and a convergence of views on various regional and international issues."
Reminiscing India's relationship with Vietnam going back in the days of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the President said, "The foundation of friendship between India and Vietnam laid by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ho Chi Minh has flourished over the years and has brought us to a high point today. In India, we have great admiration for the Vietnamese people, their fortitude, courage and for their determination to succeed against odds. I am confident that our mutual goodwill can be translated into further mutually beneficial cooperation, as there is immense potential for future cooperation. Moreover, our partnership is also beneficial to ASEAN and the region beyond. During my visit to Vietnam in the coming days, I look forward to strengthening this partnership through discussions with my counterpart, His Excellency President Truong Tan Sang and other leaders of Vietnam."
During President's visit to Vietnam, India is expected to sign a number of pacts including cooperation in strategic oil sector.
The President would also hold talks with top Vietnamese leadership on international, regional and bilateral issues including cooperation in key areas of security and air connectivity.