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In landmark journey, Smriti Irani among first non-Muslim Indian delegation to visit Madinah

The visit is part of an ongoing diplomatic mission during which a crucial milestone was reached on Sunday with the signing of the bilateral agreement for Hajj 2024 between India and Saudi Arabia.

MadinahNEW DELHI: In a landmark moment reflecting the growing trust between India and Saudi Arabia, the first non-Muslim Indian delegation visited Madinah. The delegation included Union Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan.

“Undertook a historic journey to Madinah, one of Islam’s holiest cities included a visit to the periphery of the revered Prophet’s Mosque, Al Masjid Al Nabwi, the mountain of Uhud, and periphery of the Quba Mosque – the first Mosque of Islam. The significance of the visit to these sites courtesy Saudi officials, intertwined with early Islamic history, underscores the depth of our cultural and spiritual engagement,” said Minister Irani.

The delegation visited Madinah in a high speed Harmain Train. The visit was facilitated by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. It may be recalled that Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Hajj and Umrah, Dr Tawifiq Al Rabiah, visited India last month.

“This delegation’s visit to Madinah indicates the high level of mutual trust and confidence between India and Saudi Arabia and is a major diplomatic development,” said Dr Suhel Ajaz Khan, India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Indian pilgrims coming for Umrah and Hajj visit Madinah for nearly eight days and offer 40 prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque. This is the second most important mosque in Islam as it is here that the Prophet stayed and prayed for 10 years and the mosque hosts his final resting place.

During the past one year, there have been many high-level visits including the arrival of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, in India for a state visit in September. From the Indian side, more than 10 ministerial visits have taken place to Saudi Arabia.

The visit is part of an ongoing diplomatic mission during which a crucial milestone was reached on Sunday with the signing of the bilateral agreement for Hajj 2024 between India and Saudi Arabia.

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