Ho Chi Minh City: President Pranab Mukherjee arrived in this historic Vietnamese city today as part of his four-day state visit to the country.
The tour of the city, formerly called Saigon, is the second and the last leg of Mukherjee's visit to the Southeast Asian country which he is visiting to bolster bilateral ties especially in areas of defence, security and energy.
The President was received at the Tan Son Nhat airport here by the Vice Chairman of People's Committee of Vietnam Le Manh Ha.
The President is expected to visit a few historic and iconic sites in the city and is also scheduled to attend a reception hosted for the Indian community by the Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Preeti Saran. Mukherjee is also slated to meet the Secretary of Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Le Thanh Hai later in the day.
The city is the largest in Vietnam and has the strongest economy as compared to other parts of the country. In the national capital of Hanoi yesterday, Mukherjee met the country's top leadership as both India and Vietnam signed seven pacts of cooperation including in the crucial and strategic defence procurement, oil exploration and maiden air connectivity sectors.
Both the countries, after delegation-level talks declared their commitment for free movement in the waters of South China Sea as they pledged to further enhance their friendship by increasing people-to-people contacts and visits by top government and political functionaries of both the nations in the future.
The reference to free movement in South China Sea waters came ahead of President Xi Jinping's visit to India starting tomorrow.
After the deliberations in Hanoi, India extended an invite for Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguygen Tan Dung and he is expected in New Delhi sometime next month.
Mukherjee will depart for India tomorrow.