PM Modi invites Pope Francis to India during a ‘very warm meeting’
The meeting was scheduled for only 20 minutes but went on for an hour where they discussed a wide range of issues, according to the people familiar with the details of the meeting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday had a “very warm meeting” with Pope Francis and invited him to visit India. The meeting was scheduled for only 20 minutes but went on for an hour where they discussed a wide range of issues, including climate change and poverty, according to the people familiar with the details of the meeting.
“Had a very warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with him and also invited him to visit India. @Pontifex,” PM Modi tweeted.
Pope John Paul II's was the last Papal visit to India in 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister. The invitation for another Papal visit to India has been extended during PM Modi’s prime ministerial term. He is also the first Indian prime minister to meet Francis since the latter became the head of the Catholic Church in 2013.
PM Modi paid a visit to Pope ahead of G20 Summit hosted by Italy. The prime minister was accompanied by external affairs minister S Jaishankar and national security adviser Ajit Doval.
He also met the secretary of state of the Vatican City State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
On Friday, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the Vatican had not set an agenda for the meeting since the tradition is not to have an agenda when discussing issues with the Pope, adding that India would respect that.
“I'm sure the issues would cover a range of areas of interest in terms of the general global perspectives and issues that are important to all of us, Covid-19, health issues, how we can work together, how we can work together to maintain peace and tranquillity and this is something that, I think would be the general trend in the discussions,” Shringla said during a special briefing on PM Modi's visit to Italy.
(With inputs from agencies)