PM Modi also praises contributions of the Christian community to the freedom movement
On the occasion of Christmas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with members of the Christian community at his official residence, 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, in New Delhi on Monday. The gathering served as both a festive celebration and a meaningful forum for addressing various social and developmental issues.
“The nation proudly acknowledges the contribution of the Christian Community," Prime Minister Modi said in his address. He also praised the contributions of the Christian community to the freedom movement and highlighted the various intellectual thinkers and leaders.
Highlighting his "close and very warm relations" with the Christian community for a long time, Prime Minister Modi recalled holding frequent meetings with the Christian community and their leaders as Gujarat Chief Minister. Calling his interaction with The Holy Pope just a few years ago as a very memorable moment, the Prime Minister highlighted the discussions on issues such as social harmony, global brotherhood, climate change and inclusive development to make earth a better place.
Prominent figures from the Christian community, including Cardinal Oswald Gracias, renowned sports icon Anju Bobby George, and educational leaders like John Varghese, Principal of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, participated in the interaction. They expressed their gratitude and support for the Prime Minister's vision and policies, particularly in the fields of education, sports, and women empowerment. 
During the interaction, Prime Minister Modi emphasized India's aim to become a developed nation by 2047, highlighting the crucial role of the youth in this journey. He called for the physical, mental, and emotional fitness of the youth, urging community leaders to spread awareness about movements promoting fitness, nutrition, and campaigns against drug abuse. 
The Prime Minister also reiterated the concept of 'Vocal for Local', advocating for the promotion of local products and services as a form of national service. He encouraged the Christian community to support local Indian goods, contributing to the country's economic growth and self-reliance.
The dialogue included discussions on the New Education Policy (NEP), highlighting its focus on local languages and the autonomy of educational institutions.
In keeping with the tradition of giving gifts during Christmas, PM Modi urged the importance of gifting a better and more sustainable planet to future generations. He emphasized that sustainability is crucial in contemporary times, and living a sustainable lifestyle is at the heart of Mission LiFE, an international initiative led by India. This campaign encourages individuals to adopt a pro-planet lifestyle, focusing on practices like reusing and recycling, using biodegradable materials, adopting millets in diets, and purchasing products with minimal carbon footprints.
The Prime Minister expressed his belief that the socially conscious Christian community could play a significant role in this mission.
The Prime Minister's message was one of unity and inclusiveness, wishing that the festive season would unite the nation and bring together every citizen. He expressed his hopes that the Christmas festival would strengthen the bonds uniting India in its diversity and bring happiness, prosperity, and peace to all.
Archbishop Anil Couto also spoke about the Christian community's commitment to the welfare of the country and aligning with the Prime Minister's message of inclusive development and national unity. He agreed with the Prime Minister’s ideas of mutual respect and the common objective of contributing to India's progress.
This engagement reflects Prime Minister Modi's commitment to an inclusive governance style, embracing India's rich tapestry of cultural and religious diversity, and actively seeking to involve all communities in shaping the country's developmental path.