India, Saudi Arabia formalise bilateral Hajj agreement

New Delhi, Jan 08 – In a significant diplomatic move, India and Saudi Arabia have formalized the Bilateral Haj Agreement for the year 2024. The agreement was officially signed by the Indian delegation led by Smriti Irani, Minister of Minority Affairs, and Joint Secretary Minority Affairs Nirupama Kotru IRS, a Kashmiri Pandit, during their visit to Saudi Arabia.

Accompanying Smriti Irani, Nirupama Kotru played a crucial role in facilitating the signing of the agreement, reinforcing the commitment to a strong bilateral relationship between the two nations.

“I, along with Hon’ble MoS for External Affairs, Shri @MOS_MEA, presided over the signing,” said Ms Irani, in a post on X.

During their visit, the Indian delegation engaged in productive discussions with Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the Saudi Minister of Haj and Umrah Affairs, said Ms Irani. The talks covered various matters of mutual interest, highlighting the commitment of both nations to strengthen diplomatic ties, she said.

The Saudi delegation expressed sincere appreciation for India’s exemplary digital initiatives, particularly in providing essential last-mile information to Haj pilgrims. The Indian proposal to encourage the participation of women without Mehram in the Haj pilgrimage was also discussed, emphasizing India’s commitment to inclusivity and gender equality.

Discussions further encompassed plans for enhancing medical facilities to ensure the comprehensive well-being of all pilgrims.

“I deeply value the collaborative spirit exhibited during these deliberations and eagerly anticipate the continued fortification of our bilateral relations,” said Ms Irani.

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