PM Modi-Pope meeting historic, says BJP; For RSS, it's 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam'
The meeting between PM Modi and Pope Francis on Saturday is an occasion fit for the history books and a great step towards peace, harmony and inter-faith dialogue, BJP president JP Nadda said. During the meeting, which went for an hour and was "very warm", as described by PM Modi, Pope was invited to India by the Prime Minister.
The ministry of external affairs said Pope Francis has accepted PM Modi's invitation and is looking forward to visiting India. "The last papal visit to India was in 1999 when Pope John Paul II visited the country. Pope Francis has accepted PM Modi's invitation. In his own words, he said: 'You (PM Modi) have given me the greatest gift. I am looking forward to visiting India'," foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.
"India is a vibrant and inclusive democracy, where the Christian community has played a pivotal role in areas like politics, films, business & armed forces. Under Modi Ji's leadership India is marching ahead on the path of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas'," Nadda said in a tweet.
RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosable said the meeting enhanced the prestige of the country.
"What is wrong if the head of the government meets anyone in the existing civil system in the world? We welcome it because we believe in 'Vasudhava Kutumbakam' (the world is one family). We respect all the religions," Dattatreya Hosabale said.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC), a body of Catholic Bishops in the State, on Saturday welcomed the meeting and said, "Inviting Pope Francis to India was a historic decision and this will raise the stature of the country among the nations of the world. His visit will help to strengthen the diplomatic relation between both countries. It will also help to nurture the relationship between various sects of Christianity and other religions."
This was the first meeting between an Indian Prime Minister and the Pope in more than two decades. The last such meeting was in June 2000, when then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the Vatican and met the then Pope, His Holiness John Paul II.
In 2017, Francis visited Myanmar and Bangladesh but could not visit India because of "scheduling problems".