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Rome Reports

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Prime Minister Modi invites Pope Francis to visit India

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, met with Pope Francis for the first time.

It was an important meeting, as Prime Minister Modi belongs to a Hindu nationalist party responsible for passing legislation limiting religious minorities in India, including Christians and Muslims.

-"Thank you very much."

The Prime Minister said on Twitter that they "had a very warm meeting," that they were able to "discuss a wide range of issues" and that Modi invited Pope Francis to visit India.

As a gift, the Prime Minister gave the Pope a silver candelabra typically found in churches in India.

He also gave him a book of his environmental policies.

-"This is your most favorite subject, climate."

The Pope in turn gave the Prime Minister a bronze medallion with the inscription: "The desert will be transformed into a garden."

-"The desert will be transformed into a garden."

He also gave him a number of his writings on universal human fraternity and on the environment.

The Pope gave the Prime Minister an additional personal gift.

-"Medal of nine years of my pontificate. For you. And this, for your mother."

It was a meeting full of cordial gestures.

The Prime Minister repeated his invitation to the Pope before leaving.

-"Thank you very much for your visit. I'm happy."
-"It's an honor for me."
-"...very happy."
-"And I would like to see you in India."

Pope Francis was supposed to visit India in 2017, but the government decided not to invite him because of alleged issues with their policy agenda.

There is concern about the reaction of radical Hindu nationalist groups who have instigated violence against religious minorities like Christians and Muslims in the name of preserving the country's Hindu identity.

Christians account for about 1.5 percent of India's 1.3 billion inhabitants.