Pope Francis, who is currently on a week-long tour of South Asia, will not visit India as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not have extended him an invitation to be a state guest, the Indian Express has reported.
According to the daily, the Pope, who also serves as the head of state of Vatican City, can only visit a country only if the government extends him an official invitation to be the guest of both the President and Prime Minister.
During his visit to Azerbaijan in October 2016, the Pope had said that he would “almost certainly” visit India next year. His comments came after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to his office in Vatican City when she had gone to Rome to attend the canonisation of Mother Teresa in September 2016.
Although no official clarification has been issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, it is almost clear that the government did not extend him an invitation.
The Catholic Christian community in India, according to the Indian Express report, was in touch with the government to bring the Pope to the country but had not obtained a commitment. Indian Catholic clergy said they are disappointed over the fact that the Pope’s tour to South Asia does not include India.
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