New Delhi, India: The Minister of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed yesterday that the Pope’s visit to India can get delayed further. In a Press Conference, the MEA Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, while answering the queries about the delay, said that the details aren’t disclose-able. He said, “Honestly, I do not know (sic).” It was said earlier that the Pope had expressed his willingness to visit the country. Though the minister dismissed any further questions, the press continued to quiz him further during the press conference that was set up to discuss the 100 days working report of the NDA government. This comes after the Pope expresses his eagerness to visit India for the third time.
In order to officially invite the Pontiff to the country, a request was sent across to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). Cardinal Dr. Oswald Gracias, Mar George Alenchery and Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis of the CBCI, had sent the request to the PM personally. During the time the request was served, Dr. Jaishankar was the Secretary to the External Affairs Office. Back then, it was notified by the office that the meet is delayed due to the lack of a convenient date for the meeting. But now, the response from the MEA, has opened speculations about the interest shown by the Indian Government over the CBCI’s request.
The Pope has already visited United Arab Emirates and few countries in the Asian Subcontinent like Myanmar and Bangladesh, and he has scheduled his journey to Taiwan and Japan in the coming November. While the Islamic and Buddhist countries have heartily welcomed the Pontiff, the Indian government keeps delaying the invitation, and this phenomenon has created apprehensions among the faithful in the country. The CBCI notified the Catholic communion, that they are in the process of building a pressure on the government to honor the interest of the Holy Father, though the government has extended the notice of an indefinite delay on the invitation.