Benten signs Haj accord with Indian minister


Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — India has hailed the effective use of modern technology by the Kingdom in executing Haj operations, the country’s minister of state for minority affairs said on Sunday during talks with Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Benten.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is also responsible for Haj affairs in India, expressed thanks to Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, for their utmost care to the pilgrims by providing them with the best possible facilities, according to a statement issued Benten.

Naqvi met with Benten at his office in Makkah on Sunday for signing the annual Haj agreement. The high level meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Haj Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed, Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh and other senior officials from both sides.

The Indian minister was scheduled to address a press conference in Jeddah prior to his departure. Naqvi is accompanied by several senior officials from the Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Haj Committee of India.

This year’s Haj will be the first after the government of India approved a new Haj policy.

According to the policy, there will be a 5 percent increase in the number of pilgrims who come through private tour operators.

A total of 170,000 Indian pilgrims are expected to perform Haj in 2018.