Advocating peace in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, a Hindu MP from Pakistan today expressed hope that India and Pakistan would move forward in the direction of friendship.
Ramesh Kumar Vankwani from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was part of a 220-member delegation from 185 countries which was invited to attend the Kumbh festivities by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
"I will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday and request them that peace be given a chance," Mr Vankwani told the media. He said he had made similar requests to the Pakistan government as well.
Mr Vankwani also congratulated the governments at the centre and in Uttar Pradesh for the disciplined manner in which the Kumbh Mela had been organised.
He said though he had visited the Kumbh many times in the past, the arrangements this time were the most disciplined he had seen. He said this was the first time he came on a government invitation.
Accompanied by Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, the foreign delegates were flown into Prayagraj from New Delhi in two special aircraft. They were greeted by a cultural troupe on their arrival at the Bamrauli airport here.
"In the first aircraft, 58 foreigners and 14 officials arrived. The second aircraft carrying the remaining guests arrived shortly after noon," an official informed IANS.
A special screening of the documentary "Kumbh: Eternal Journey of Civilization" by Harshit Jain was held for the visiting delegates. A cruise onboard 'Sangam,' a ship specially decorated for the high-profile visit, was organised for the visitors.
Mr Singh told reporters that the idea behind the ICCR initiative was to make "the delegates see that Kumbh was not just the confluence of rivers but also of different religions and faiths".
He added that so far 22 crore people from across the country and the world have visited the Kumbh Mela.
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.