Saudi Arabia increases India’s Haj quota by 25,000

NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday announced the increase of haj quota for Indian Haj pilgrims from 170,000 to 200,000, at the request of PM Modi during his recent visit to the country.

The crown prince also ordered to release 850 Indian prisoners from Saudi jails.

Ministry of External Affairs announced the decision after PM Modi held talks with visiting Saudi Crown Prince on Wednesday.

This is the third hike in three years. In 2018, Saudi Arabia had increased India’s Haj quota by 5,000 while in 2017 it was increased by about 35,000.

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T S Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the MEA, said the meeting was held in “an atmosphere of great warmth and friendship testifying to the close rapport between the two leaders”.

In an interaction with the media at the presidential palace earlier, the crown prince said: “The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA. Today, we want to be ensured that the relationship is maintained and improved for sake of both countries and with the leadership of Mr. President and the Prime Minister; we can create good things for both countries.”