UPDATE - India, Israel expand cooperation in agriculture, cyber areas

UPDATE - India, Israel expand cooperation in agriculture, cyber areas

Visiting Israeli foreign minister says cutting Indian trip short due to 'security update'

UPDATES WITH INDIA-ISRAEL FOREIGN AFFAIRS MEETING; ADDS STATEMENT BY INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY; CHANGES HEADLINE, DECK; REVISES BACKGROUND

By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) - India and Israel on Tuesday expanded cooperation in the agriculture, water, and cyber fields, the foreign ministers of the two nations said.

Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who arrived in India on Tuesday, held a meeting with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in the capital New Delhi.

Cohen, who arrived in Delhi on Tuesday morning, said he is cutting short his tour and returning back home “in light of events in Israel.”

Cohen in the afternoon said he held an "excellent meeting" with his Indian counterpart.

"We are strengthening ties with the most populous country in the world, and expanding cooperation in the fields of cyber, agriculture and water," he wrote on Twitter, and added: "Our cooperation will strengthen Israel's position in the world and stability in the Middle East."

His Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar said he had "productive and wide-ranging discussions" with Cohen about the main pillars of the India-Israel "strategic partnership -- agriculture, water, defense, and security -- are taking our ties forward."

"New agreements in water & agriculture today underline the potential to do more," he said on Twitter.

The two ministers discussed cooperation in high-tech, digital, and innovation areas, as well as in connectivity, mobility tourism, finance, and health, Jaishankar noted, saying they noted the progress in the I2U2 -- a group comprising India, Israel, the US, and UAE -- and cooperation in multilateral forums.

"Exchanged perspectives on our respective regions, Ukraine, and Indo-Pacific," the Indian minister said, adding: "Initialed an agreement in the area of mobility."

“I landed a short time ago in New Delhi, the capital of India, and immediately upon landing, I received a security update," Cohen tweeted early Tuesday. “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.”

Early Tuesday morning, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi confirmed that the Israeli minister had arrived in New Delhi.

“Looking forward to the visit further strengthening the multifaceted India-Israel partnership,” the spokesman said on Twitter.

Cohen's India trip was expected to last three days.

The foreign minister did not provide any details on the security update, while airstrikes were carried out early Tuesday in Gaza by the Israeli military.

At least 13 people were killed, including women and children, and 20 others were injured in the airstrikes, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, Indian defense chief Rajnath Singh also met an Israeli delegation led by Cohen on Tuesday, according to a statement by the Defense Ministry.

"Both sides acknowledged the completion of 30 years of diplomatic relationship between the two countries and looked forward to further strengthening the bilateral ties," it said.

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