India, Saudi Arabia reaffirm commitment to enable more people to undertake Hajj | India News

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As India prepares for Hajj 2024 and has invited applications from pilgrims, both India and Saudi Arabia at a joint press conferenc…
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NEW DELHI: As India prepares for Hajj 2024 and has invited applications from pilgrims, both India and Saudi Arabia at a joint press conference on Tuesday in Delhi reaffirmed their commitment to work together to enable more people to undertake the annual pilgrimage.

Minister of Hajj and Umrah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dr Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah who is on a visit to India in a statement said, “During our meetings, we explored various opportunities that we aim to capitalise, and challenges that we are dedicated to overcoming, to facilitate the arrival of more Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the two holy mosques.” He went on to add that India and Saudi Arabia’s collaborative efforts have significantly increased the number of Umrah pilgrims from India, surpassing 1.2 million in 2023. That is a 74% increase in comparison with 2022.”

“We are committed to initiating discussions to enhance the range of direct flights options between our two nations to accommodate an increasing number of Indians looking to perform Umrah. We are also focused on enhancing capacity to meet the anticipated increase by introducing new scheduled flights through Saudi low-cost airlines, Flynas and Flyadeal,” the minister said.

Minister of minority affairs Smriti Irani said, “we held productive discussions on how to further deepen our engagements and especially our cooperation for Hajjj. Both nations have agreed to continue to work together to make the Hajjj process as convenient and as seamless as possible with best provision of services for all Hajj pilgrims.”

She shared that in the Hajj 2023, close to 47% of the pilgrims who embarked on Hajjj from India were women, including close to 4,000 women who went under the ‘Lady without Mahram’ category, which is an all time high in India. He also said that Hajj policy for 2024 has already been announced by the Government of India and applications for pilgrims have already been invited.

V Muraleedharan, minister of state for external affairs said “Hajj pilgrimage is an important aspect of bilateral relationship between India and Saudi Arabia. The continuous success of Hajj pilgrimage undertaken by our citizens is a testament to the strong commitment made by both countries.”

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