Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that Saudi Arabia has increased India's annual Haj quota from 1.36 lakh to 1.70 lakh, biggest such expansion in last 29 years.
An agreement to this regard was inked by Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Naqvi with Saudi Arabias Haj and Umrah Minister Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten at Jeddah today, making the expansion effective from the current year.
India's quota was brought down to 1.36 lakh from nearly 1.70 lakh in 2012.
Naqvi said his meeting with Benten was "very fruitful" as constructive discussion was held on the whole gamut of issues related to the pilgrimage, transport and accommodation facilities for pilgrims and their safety.
Naqvi also said, "On behalf of the people and Government of India, we also extend gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Excellency Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, for his keen personal interest and initiative in organising a successful Haj 2016."
He also said,"The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia during April last year added new dimensions to our vibrant relationship."
The Minister also expressed satisfaction over the improvements in services offered to pilgrims which indicates Saudi Arabias firm commitment towards welfare and betterment of pilgrims.
On January 2, the Minister had launched the Haj Committee of India mobile application to help pilgrims apply online.