As per the India-Saudi Arabia bilateral agreement on Haj 2013, inked on March 16 in Jeddah, the quota for India was fixed at 170,025 seats -- comprising 125,025 seats for the HCOI, Mumbai, and 45,000 for pilgrims going through private tour operators (PTOs). But in June, Saudi authorities announced a 50 per cent cut in quota on local Saudi applicants and 20 per cent on foreign pilgrims.

India conveyed its concern to the Saudi authorities and sought a reconsideration of the decision. But on June 21, the Saudi government conveyed its inability to accede to the Indian request.