India discusses forthcoming Hajj with Saudi Arabia
Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed today met Saudi Minister of Hajj Bandar bin Mohammed Hajjar to discuss Hajj season
Ahmad, who is in charge of Hajj Affairs, is in Saudi Arabia to review the arrangements for the forthcoming pilgrimage.
Accompanied by a delegation, Ahamed discussed at length issues related to Hajj pilgrimage with the Saudi Minister.
In June, Saudi Arabia slashed the number of overseas pilgrims, including those from India, by 20 per cent this year, citing massive ongoing construction work aimed at expanding grand Mecca mosque.
“The decision to reduce the numbers of pilgrims at home by 50 per cent and abroad by 20 per cent is exceptional and temporary until the completion of the expansionist projects at the Holy Sites,” Saudi Minister of Hajj said.
As per the Hajj agreement signed with Saudi Arabia, India’s quota for Hajj-2012 was 170,000. The decision to slash the quota, if implemented, would reduce the number of Indian pilgrims this year.