Washington, July 30: US President Barack Obama considers Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "good friend" and both countries are in close contact on resolving the tensions over the South China Sea following the Hague court's ruling and China's belligerent stand on the issue, the White House has said. [PM Modi only foreign leader to share frame with Obama in film on his feats]
White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, asked if the US is in contact with India over resolving the issue, said during a daily briefing on Friday: "We're in close contact with the government of India. President Obama considers Prime Minister Modi a good friend. We've collaborated on a number of projects." [Highlights of Obama's speech at Democratic Convention]
On July 12, The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled against China's claims to rights in the South China Sea, backing a case brought in by the Philippines.
China has considered the ruling "null and void" and threatened smaller nations in the region which might include India.
Schultz also hailed Prime Minister Modi on his collaboration with the US over last December's Paris Climate Deal, saying President Obama was "enormously proud" of it.
"We've collaborated on a number of projects. Most recently and most notably, the agreement that the US worked with India over the Paris climate deal," he said.
He went on to say that projects and deals were not only the "facet of our relationship", but the two countries also share "deep economic ties and deep security ties".
"So, President deeply values his relationship with Prime Minister Modi," Schultz added.