Ho Chi Minh City: Visiting Vietnam's business capital on the penultimate day of his state visit, President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday extolled the city's transformation to a regional economic hub after a tumultuous past, and also praised the Narendra Modi government back home for improving India's economy and its image aboard.
Modi got a welcome boost from Mukherjee, who unexpectedly largely abandoned his prepared speech to a gathering of the Indian community in Vietnam and instead extolled the NDA government.
Pranab Mukherjee and Narendra Modi
"After the new government (led by Modi) came out with a massive mandate they also worked out... of course, it is too early to formulate cogent policies for the full five years and get it reflected in the plan document and other documents but the first budget presented by the new government outlines some of the crucial policies and there is substantially continuity and there is change (in policy) where it has been found necessary to do it," Mukherjee said in a sudden extempore address at the Indian community reception here.
The president reached Ho Chi Minh City on the second leg of his four-day visit, and had a packed schedule - visiting various historic sites, attending a cultural programme and meeting the local Indian community and prominent Vietnamese politicians.
Mukherjee was Tuesday afternoon received at the airport by People's Committee vice chairman Le Manh Ha and other local dignitaries.
He straightaway proceeded to the War Remnants Museum and then the community reception hosted by Indian Ambassador Preeti Saran.
There, he praised the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) foreign policy ventures, especially Modi's recent visit to Japan.
"One very positive aspect is that there is possibility of substantial FDI which was an important outcome of the prime minister's visit to Japan. And it is expected that in the next five years, investment from Japan would be around $25-35 billion," he said.
He also expressed high hopes for the much-awaited summit between Modi and US President Barack Obama in Washington later this month.
"Our prime minister is expected to have detailed interactions with US President Barack Obama and therefore the international atmosphere is favourable and I am (also) visiting Vietnam at this juncture when two fastest growing economies - India and Vietnam - are also engaged in having cooperation and interaction," he said.
Mukherjee had a word of praise for Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is part of his official delegation, calling him lucky for seeing the global petroleum prices come down in his tenure.
He then attended a cultural programme at the Opera House and then a banquet in his honour by the ruling Communist Party city unit's secretary Le Thanh Hai, who is considered an upcoming figure in the southeast Asian country's polity.