Outgoing United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his help in strengthening relations between the two countries. A statement by the White House said Obama called Modi to thank him and review the cooperation between the two nations in various sectors, including in defence and civil nuclear energy.

“Both leaders discussed the progress they have made on shared economic and security priorities,” the statement said. The recognition of India as a major defence partner of the US and the two countries’ focus on climate change were among the topics of discussion, the statement added.

Modi and Obama have met eight times since 2014, a record for leaders of the two countries, according to PTI. The outgoing US president was also the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in 2015. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia ND Biswal said 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.

Obama will step down as president on Friday and will be succeeded by businessman Donald Trump.