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Israel FM Cuts Short his India Visit After IDF Airstrikes in Gaza

© Photo : Twitter/ @elicoh1India's PM Modi meets Foreign Minister of Israel
India's PM Modi meets Foreign Minister of Israel - Sputnik India, 1920, 10.05.2023
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who headed a big business delegation, was originally on a three-day visit to India
Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen cut short his India visit after receiving a “security update” from Tel Aviv soon after his arrival in the Indian capital on Tuesday morning, he said.
He said he would return to Tel Aviv after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The development came after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched ‘Operation Shield and Arrow’ in the Gaza Strip, in which three senior ‘jihad’ commanders responsible for launching rockets into Israel last month were killed in the airstrikes, the Israeli army claimed.
Meanwhile, at least nine Palestinians have also been killed in the operation, which is currently ongoing, reports say.
Before his departure from Tel Aviv, he said that the visit was aimed at “deepening strategic partnership with one of the world powers.”

“If India can help to advance the Abraham Accords between Israel and the Arab world, it will offer the region 'both prosperity and stability'," Cohen said ahead of his arrival in India.

Cohen Meets Indian FM, Defence Minister

Cohen held consultations with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during his truncated visit, according to an official statement.

“We are strengthening ties with the most populous country in the world, and expanding cooperation in the fields of cyber, agriculture and water,” the Israeli minister remarked after his meeting with Jaishankar.

He said that Tel Aviv’s cooperation with New Delhi would “strengthen Israel's position in the world and stability in the Middle-East.”
A man observes the moon through a telescope next to the Dome of Rock Mosque at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Tuesday, March 21, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.03.2023
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For his part, Jaishankar said that the two sides have finalised new agreements in the spheres of water and agriculture during their talks. He said that the two sides are also close to finalizing a mobility pact.
Jaishankar called cooperation in agriculture, water, defence and security the “main pillars” of the strategic partnership between the two nations.
He said that discussions also took place to advance cooperation in connectivity, digital innovation, mobility, finance and health.
“Noted the progress in I2U2 (a group comprising Israel, India, UAE and the United States) and cooperation in multilateral forums. Exchanged perspectives on our respective regions, Ukraine and Indo-Pacific,” said Jaishankar.

Israel-India FTA

Addressing the India-Israel Business Forum later in the day, Cohen said that “significant steps” have been taken during the visit towards finalizing a free trade agreement (FTA).
Cohen said in the lead-up to his visit that there is a “strong desire to finalize an FTA that hopefully will further strengthen our economic ties.”
Trade ties (excluding defense) between the two countries stood at nearly $7.86 billion in 2021, as per official figures.