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Saudi Arabia increases India's Haj quota by 5,000: Naqvi

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Delhi: Saudi Arabia has increased India's Haj quota by 5,000, the second hike in two years, taking the number of pilgrims who can perform Haj from the country to 1,75,025, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said today.

Naqvi claimed that the increase over the past two years - of nearly 40,000 - is a "record expansion" since Independence.

The increase in India's quota will be effective from Haj to be held later this year. Saudi Arabia last year increased India's quota by 35,000. In 2017, the Haj quota was 1,70,025.

The minority affairs minister attributed the increase to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "growing popularity" and India's improved ties with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations under his leadership.

"It is a record expansion after Independence. The Modi government has been fulfilling the socio-economic, religious needs with honesty, without appeasement politics," Naqvi told PTI.

In a statement, he added: "Three years ago, during the Congress regime, India's Haj quota was about 1,36,020, which has been increased to record 1,75,025 in the past two years."

He also thanked the custodian of the two holy mosques, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud and the Saudi government for the increase in India's quota.

The Gulf country has expanded India's quota after Naqvi signed a bilateral annual Haj agreement between India and Saudi Arabia with the Haj and Umrah Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Mecca.

Saudi Arabia has also given the green signal for India's decision to revive the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route, Naqvi reiterated.

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