The President noted that India-Vietnam partnership has reached a "high point" and is also beneficial to ASEAN and the region beyond.

"Political, defence and security cooperation is one of the major pillars of our cooperation. We are of the view that there is much more potential that can be realised in this area and both sides are working towards it along with our regional partners," Mukherjee told Vietnamese News Agency (VNA) on the eve of his departure for a four-day state visit to the country.

Mukherjee, who will meet the top leadership of Vietnam including President Truong Tan Sang, said his trip is aimed at enhancing the mutual goodwill between the two countries and translate it into further mutually beneficial cooperation.

"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," he said.

The visit, which will take Mukherjee to capital Hanoi and the historical Ho Chi Minh City, is set to witness inking of a number of memorandums between the two countries including one between ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and Petro Vietnam with regard to exploration activities in the South China Sea, a move opposed by China.

"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," he said.

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