Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces Hajj gift for India with 30,000 increase in quota

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces Hajj gift for India with 30,000 increase  in quota
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 Summit in Osaka on Friday. (AFP/Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Updated 29 June 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces Hajj gift for India with 30,000 increase in quota

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces Hajj gift for India with 30,000 increase  in quota
  • The total figure rises to 200,000 per year
  • The meeting took place in Osaka where the yearly G20 summit is taking place

NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia has increased India’s Hajj quota by 30,000, lifting the figure to 200,000 per year. The enhanced quota means India will send the second-highest number of pilgrims for Hajj after Indonesia. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided to raise the quota after a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Japanese city of Osaka.

Vijay Gokhale, India’s foreign secretary, said that the “crown prince has promised PM Modi the quota will be increased.”

“This is important and this has been done,” he said

India’s Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the increase was a result of Modi’s “cordial and friendly” relations with the Saudi leadership.

“This is the third hike in three years. When the Modi government came to power in 2014, India’s Hajj quota was 136,000. That has now been increased to 200,000,” he said.

Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, welcomed the crown prince’s decision.

“We are grateful to the Kingdom for increasing the Hajj quota. This will be the highest number of pilgrims to be handled by the Indian Hajj mission in its history,” he told Arab News. “The decision reflects the increasingly close and developing strategic relationship between the two countries, which has taken an upward trajectory in the recent years,” he said.

“We are geared up to receive the Indian Hajj pilgrims starting from July 4, 2019. The Saudi leadership involved in Hajj management, including Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Hajj Minister Mohammed Salih Bentin, have promised to make Indian pilgrims’ stay in the Kingdom as comfortable as possible.”

Anwar Sadat, a New Delhi resident, also welcomed the increase in the quota. “I waited for three years before my turn came to perform Hajj. The increase of 30,000 is significant ... I feel that the quota should go up further.”


Saudi FM: Kingdom committed to resolving regional tensions

Updated 13 min 39 sec ago

Saudi FM: Kingdom committed to resolving regional tensions

Saudi FM: Kingdom committed to resolving regional tensions

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that Saudi Arabia was committed to the “diplomatic resolution of regional tensions,” during the IISS Manama Dialogue on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia – along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – severed diplomatic ties with Doha in June 2017. They accused Qatar of supporting regional extremist organizations and terrorist groups, and want the country to change its policies as a condition for dialogue.

Saudi Arabia continues its commitment to “maintaining multilateral frameworks to tackle the challenges we face today,” the prince said during the dialogue discussions taking place in Bahrain.

 

In addressing regional security and stability, the minister also highlighted the Palestinian-Israel issue and the need to reach a deal.

“For Saudi, it is critical to get the Israelis and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. That is the only way to bring about lasting regional peace,” he said.