Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced on Tuesday that he will be returning early from his trip to India due to the escalating security situation following the killing by the Israeli military of three top Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
“I landed a short time ago in New Delhi, the capital of India, and immediately upon landing I received a security update,” Cohen posted to Twitter.
“In light of the events in Israel, I decided to cut short the diplomatic visit to India and return to Israel after my meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that will take place today.”
Cohen is on his first official visit to India, where he was expected to engage in bilateral talks on strengthening relations between the two countries over the course of three days.
Earlier on Tuesday, Cohen attended the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) India-Israel Business Forum in Delhi, saying that he would raise the issue of a free trade agreement during his meeting with Modi.
He was also present for the signing of three MoUs between Israel and India and was scheduled to meet with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. Upon his arrival, Cohen was greeted by Arindam Bagchi, official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
Cohen was also to lay a wreath at Teen Murti Haifa Chowk, which honors Indian soldiers who played a key role in the Battle of Haifa in World War I.
Israel and India are celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations. Cohen’s trip follows recent visits by Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat and Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana.
Southern Israel is bracing for the potential of retaliatory rocket attacks from Gaza-based terrorists following the early Tuesday operation.