Obama gives farewell call to Modi, thanks him for strengthening US-India ties

Obama was among the first world leaders to call Modi after his election victory in 2014.

Outgoing President Barack Obama spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday as he called world leaders with whom he closely worked with, thanking them for their support as he bids farewell to the White House.

Obama thanked Modi for “his partnership” and to review joint efforts of cooperation including defense, civil nuclear energy, and enhanced people-to-people ties, a readout of the telephonic conversation between the two leaders said.

“Recalling his visit as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in 2015, President Obama wished the Prime Minister warm congratulations ahead of India’s upcoming 68th Republic Day anniversary,” the White House said.

“Both leaders discussed the progress they have made on shared economic and security priorities, including recognition of India as a major defense partner of the United States and addressing the global challenge of climate change,” it said.

Obama was among the first world leaders to call Modi after his election victory in 2014, when he invited the prime minister to visit the US, ending in one stroke weeks of speculation about how Modi will travel to the US, having being denied a visa in 2005.

In September 2014, the two world leaders met at the White House. Since then they have met each other eight times and this is a record for leaders between India and the US.

The joint statement issued after their meeting the next day covered all the usual points the two sides like to see, and went beyond. It called, for the first time, for all parties in the South China Sea dispute to resolve their differences amicably.

On climate change, Obama pushed India to accept responsibility as a major polluter, as had China, and undertake to do more to cut emissions tweaking its longstanding position that the developed world be made to shoulder the burden mostly.

In 2015 end, Obama and Modi were seen taking lead with Chinese President Xi Jinping in forging a historic global compact which Donald Trump has threatened to tear up.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said that the two leaders shared “a great deal of personal camaraderie”. “They also have a great deal of respect for each other for the leadership and the values and the integrity of each other’s approach,” she said.

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