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

  • 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.”

Festivities kick-off as Saudis celebrate national day across kingdom

Updated 20 September 2019

Festivities kick-off as Saudis celebrate national day across kingdom

DUBAI: The first activities of the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment (GAE) kicked off on Thursday evening in celebration of the kingdom’s National Day on September 23 in the province of Jeddah.

The festivities were held on Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Street and Corniche Road with performances of national songs and fashion shows representing Saudi cultural heritage, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The events also included workshops for children to participate in the celebration of the occasion. The activities ended with a firework show.

In Jizan, families enjoyed heritage shows hosted by the GAE at the corniche as well as Saudi art and photography.

Storytellers entertained children with stories of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud and the history of the unification of the states of Saudi Arabia.

Artwork of Saudi landmarks were exhibited, celebrating modern and historical architecture in the kingdom.

Meanwhile, schools across the kingdom organized activities to mark the celebrations for children, highlighting the role of the founding father of Saudi Arabia in “reuniting and unifying the country.” Schools have also partnered with government bodies to educate students on the role and status of Saudi Arabia on the world stage.

Across the kingdom, preparations to celebrate National Day have been completed, with street decorations and a number of events planned.

Celebrations will be held over five days to commemorate Saudi National Day.