Pope accepts PM’s invite to visit India

Modi was the first Indian prime minister to meet Pope Francis since he became head of the Catholic Church in 2013.
PM Modi briefed the Pope about The Pope appreciated India’s assistance to countries in need during the pandemic, the ministry said. (AFP)
PM Modi briefed the Pope about The Pope appreciated India’s assistance to countries in need during the pandemic, the ministry said. (AFP)
Updated on Oct 30, 2021 11:52 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis discussed a wide range of global issues, including the Covid-19 crisis, fighting climate change and alleviating poverty, during their maiden meeting at the Vatican City. In a tweet, PM Modi described the meeting “warm” and said he invited the Pope to India. The meeting was scheduled to last only 20 minutes, but went on for an hour, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. Modi and the Pope discussed a range of issues “aimed at making the planet better”, such as climate change and poverty.

Modi was the first Indian prime minister to meet Pope Francis since he became head of the Catholic Church in 2013. It was also the first meeting between an Indian prime minister and a pope since June 2000, when late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the Vatican and met Pope John Paul II.

Modi was accompanied to the Vatican by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and external affairs minister S Jaishankar.

“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,” Modi said in his tweet. The external affairs ministry said the Pope granted Modi a private audience at the Apostolic Palace, and the two leaders discussed the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences for people around the world.

They also discussed the challenge posed by climate crisis. Modi briefed the Pope about The Pope appreciated India’s assistance to countries in need during the pandemic, the ministry said. The Pope also accepted Modi’s invitation to visit India. A statement from the Vatican said: “During a brief conversation, the cordial relations between the Holy See and India were discussed.”

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Thursday, May 19, 2022