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Friday, April 19, 2024

Landmark Diplomacy: Non-Muslim Indian delegation makes historic visit to Madinah

IndiaLandmark Diplomacy: Non-Muslim Indian delegation makes historic visit to Madinah

In a landmark development, Union  Minister for Women and Child Development and Minority Affairs, Smriti Zubin Irani, accompanied by V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, embarked on a historic visit to Madinah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This unprecedented visit marks the first time a non-Muslim delegation has been welcomed to Madinah, underscoring the exceptional nature of India-Saudi Arabia bilateral relations.

The visit is part of an ongoing diplomatic mission, during which a crucial milestone was reached on January 7, 2024, with the signing of the bilateral Haj agreement for Haj 2024 between India and KSA. The delegation, comprising senior officials from the Ministry of Minority Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs, is aimed to strengthen ties and gain valuable insights into the arrangements required for the upcoming Haj pilgrimage.

On January 8, 2024, the delegation visited the revered Prophet’s Mosque (Al Masjid Al Nabwi) in the Markazia area of Madinah, followed by a pilgrimage to the historic mountain of Uhud and the Quba Mosque, the first mosque of Islam. The delegation also took the opportunity to engage with Indian volunteers dedicated to serving Haj pilgrims, extending appreciation for their selfless efforts during Haj 2023. Additionally, interactions with Umrah pilgrims from India provided a comprehensive understanding of the diverse needs and expectations of Indian Muslims undertaking these religious journeys.

The significance of this visit lies in its potential to offer a first-hand insight into the intricate arrangements required for ensuring the comfort and well-being of Indian pilgrims during Haj 2024. The Indian government reaffirms its deep commitment to providing the necessary facilities and services to the lakhs of Indian Muslims partaking in the Haj pilgrimage, thereby ensuring a comfortable and spiritually fulfilling experience.
Earlier in the day the  Union Minister Smriti Irani held enriching discussions with the Indian Diaspora, comprising dedicated Haj volunteers and community members. She also engaged in productive dialogues with the  Saudi and Indian business professionals, emphasizing the crucial role of economic ties in fostering strong bilateral relations.In addition to these engagements, the minister embarked on a visit to Al-Balad, Jeddah’s historic district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Madinah, also known as Medina, stands as one of the holiest cities in Islam and holds profound religious significance for Muslims worldwide. Nestled in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, Madinah is renowned as the city to which the Prophet Muhammad migrated, marking the inception of the Islamic calendar.

This exceptional gesture by the Saudi side, welcoming a non-Muslim delegation to Madinah, underscores the strength of the bilateral relations between India and Saudi Arabia. As both nations continue to forge stronger ties, this historic visit is poised to contribute significantly to mutual understanding and cooperation in the realm of religious and cultural exchanges.

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