Saudi Government hikes India's Haj quota for second consecutive year

Saudi Government hikes India's Haj quota for second consecutive year

Saudi Arabia has hiked India's Haj quota for the second consecutive year.

A "record number" of 1,75,025 pilgrims will go for Haj from India this year.

The decision by the Saudi Arabia Government to increase India's Haj quota for 2018 has come days after Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi signed a pact with Saudi Umrah Minister Arabiaat Makkah.

"For the first time after the Independence, a record number of 1,75.025 pilgrims from India will go for Haj 2018. This has happened because of the growing popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and due to India's cordial and strengthened relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations under the leadership of Modi," Naqvi said on Tuesday.

India's Haj quota was about 1,36,020 three years ago.

"Last year, Saudi Arabia had increased India's Haj quota by 35,000," Naqvi said.

He also thanked King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, who is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the Saudi Arabia Government for increasing India's Haj quota.

Besides this, the Union Minister said, Saudi Arabia has also given "green signal" to India's decision to revive the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route.

"Officials from both the countries will discuss all the necessary formalities and technicalities so that Haj pilgrimage through sea route can be started in the coming years," he added.

About 3.55 lakh applications have been received for Haj 2018, Naqvi said.

"Women above 45 years of age, who wish to go for Haj but do not have 'Mahram' (a male companion), are allowed to travel for Haj in groups of 4 or more women under the new Indian Haj policy," he said.

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