NEW DELHI -- The White House announced early Saturday that President Obama and the first lady will cut short their visit to India and travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to pay respects to the family of King Abdullah, who died Friday.
In a written statement, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, "The vice president was originally to have led a delegation to Saudi Arabia on the president's behalf. As the president's and vice president's travel schedules became clearer, we determined that the window when the vice president would be on the ground in Riyadh coincided with the president's departure from India."
The itinerary change means that the Obamas will leave India earlier than expected Tuesday and forgo their scheduled visit to the Taj Mahal. Vice President Joe Biden will stay in Washington.
The president and first lady left Washington Saturday morning for a three-day visit to New Delhi. Mr. Obama is the chief guest for India's Republic Day, a national holiday commemorating the ratification of India's constitution.
When he lands in New Delhi, Mr. Obama will become the first president to have visited India twice while in office. His first trip was in 2010.
Mr. Obama will also meet with King Salman and other Saudi officials in Riyadh, Earnest said.