The apex body of the Catholic Church in India welcomed the Indian government's objection to hand over the remains of Mother Teresa to Albania.
The Albanian government last week demanded that India return the remains of Mother Teresa by the 100th anniversary of her birth in August 2010.
In response to this, a spokesman for the external affairs ministry, said there was no question of returning the remains of the humanitarian icon who "as an Indian citizen rests in her own country."
The statement was hailed by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), which said the church requires the remains to be in the country.
"The Catholic church gladly welcomes the response of the external affairs ministry that Mother Teresa was fully an Indian citizen. We would want her remains to be in India," said CBCI spokesman Rev Babu Joseph.
He explained that the Nobel laureate had built a strong bond with all sections of Indian society, and this relationship "cannot be overlooked".
The CBCI had earlier warned the government to consult the Church and the Missionaries of Charity before taking any decision on Albania's request.
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, to an ethnic Albanian family on 27 August 1910. She spent most of her years in India where she established the Missionaries of Charity through which she served the poor and sick regardless of their religion or social caste.
Church welcomes govt's response to Albania
Published 15 October 2009 | Babu Thomas