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Swaraj thanks Saudi for increasing Haj quota

External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj, who is on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, has thanked the Kingdom for increasing the Haj quota for India last year.

“A large number of my Muslim brothers and sisters from India visit Saudi Arabia every year for Haj and Umrah pilgrimage. Once again I thank your majesty for increasing the Haj quota for India in 2017 and also for the special arrangements and care given to the pilgrims,” EAM Sushma Swaraj said at the inaugural ceremony of the Janadriyah Festival representing the ‘Guest of Honour’ country in Riyadh.

The minister also used the occasion to underscore that “the linkages between the two countries date back to several millennia and have been nurtured by socio-economic interactions and people to people contacts.”

“Over 3 million Indians reside in Saudi Arabia contributing to the development of economic prosperity of the kingdom,” Swaraj added.

Furthermore, the External Affairs Minister noted that India’s participation at the Janadriyah Festival “provides an opportunity to showcase our strong bilateral relationship.”

Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday visited India pavilion at the Al Janadriyah festival in Riyadh.

Swaraj was accompanied by the King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saudthe and the Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

India is the guest of honour country at this year’s festival and Swaraj led the Indian delegation at the festival.

The two-week long festival that began in is the biggest cultural festival of the Gulf that celebrates the culture and heritage of Saudi.

The festival not only brings to life the culture of the Gulf kingdom but also aims to acquaint its citizens with the cultures of other countries, by way of inviting a country each year as the guest of honour.

This year, at the 32nd edition of the festival, India as the guest of honour will get to showcase facets of its culture, business opportunities, technology, medical and military progress

Indian Pavilion provided a glimpse of socio-cultural heritage, folklore, traditional costumes, Indian perfumes, bridal costumes, artifacts, calligraphy and food.

Indian cultural performances such as Kathakali, Kalariyaptu, Kathak, Manipuri, Chhau, Bangra, Bollywood, Gujarati and Rajasthani and Yoga performances are also expected to grace Al Janadriyah.

On the business front, major Indian companies like Tata Motors, Jet Airways, Al Abeer Medical Group, etc. will also be putting up stalls at the Pavilion.

Al Janadriyah started in 1985 under the patronage of the ruling monarch. The tradition continues with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who is the patron of the festival this year.

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