Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Minority Affairs Smriti Zubin Irani is on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia. The Indo-Saudi partnership, which has deepened in recent years, has further strengthened during this visit, marked by sustained engagement across various sectors.

Yesterday, she attended the opening ceremony of the 3rd Haj and Umrah Conference in Jeddah. She also visited the Haj Terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, to oversee the arrangements for Haj pilgrims and explore ways to facilitate better logistics and monitoring mechanism for the convenience of the Indian Haj pilgrims.

Ms Irani actively reached out to the Indian diaspora in Jeddah, seeking avenues for deeper collaboration and highlighting the comprehensive welfare schemes undertaken by the Indian government. During her visit to the Haj Terminal she assessed arrangements for pilgrims and discussed improved logistics and monitoring mechanisms for their convenience. She further enriched the experience by exploring the cultural tapestry of Al-Balad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcasing India's deep appreciation for Saudi Arabia's rich traditions.

Ms. Irani and Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan met Saudi Minister of Haj and Umrah Affairs Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al Rabiah in Jeddah. The signing of the Bilateral Haj Agreement 2024 stood as a testament to this commitment,

allocating a generous quota of over 175,000 pilgrims for Indian Muslims and prioritizing their well-being. During the meeting with the Minister of Hajj and Umrah, the digital initiatives of the Indian government in facilitating and promoting ease and convenience for the Indian Haj pilgrims by providing last-mile information to the pilgrims were greatly appreciated by Saudi Arabia. 

The initiative by the Indian government towards encouraging participation under the Ladies without Mehram (LWM) category was discussed, deeply appreciated and lauded.

Union Minister took to her social media handle and stated that India is committed to building a robust partnership with the Saudi counterparts based on trust, cooperation, and shared values.

Minister Smriti Zubin Irani accompanied by V Muraleedharan yesterday also met Prof Dr Ali Erbas, President of Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Turkiye and Dato' Setia Na'im bin Mokhtar, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Islamic Affairs), Saudi Arabia in two separate meetings on the sidelines of the signing of the Bilateral Haj Agreement 2024 with Ministry of Minority Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in Jeddah. During the meetings, experiences on Haj management and administration were shared and there was an exchange of ideas on best practices with the respective counterparts.

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