PM Modi to call on Pope Francis at Vatican before attending G-20 summit

Updated on Oct 23, 2021 04:00 PM IST

While stabilization of Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific in wake of Chinese moves against Taiwan this month will be the focus of G-20 apart from terrorism, the COP26 Glasgow summit will come out with measures to slow down climate change and arrest global warming.

PM Modi will meet Pope Francis next week.(HT)
PM Modi will meet Pope Francis next week.(HT)
By, , Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In a significant development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Pope Francis, Head of Catholic Church, at the Vatican next Friday before he attends the two-day G20 summit in Rome.

While the government is tight-lipped about PM Modi’s travel itinerary, it is understood that he will leave India a day early on October 28 night to meet the 84-year-old sovereign of Vatican City State as a courtesy call.

It is understood that PM Modi will attend the G-20 summit on October 30-31 before flying off to Glasgow in Scotland to attend the COP26 summit for strategizing on how to deal with challenges arising from climate change.

It is learnt that PM Modi is also expected to attend key events on the sidelines of the climate change summit with UK PM Boris Johnson.

UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, who is currently on a visit to India, may be expected to convey the message from PM Johnson to PM Modi to stay beyond his speech at COP26 on November 1.

At the G-20 meeting, stabilization of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan will be on top of the agenda apart from the aggressive Chinese moves against Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific.

The present situation in Afghanistan, which is already facing drought-like conditions, is said to be in a mess with Taliban leadership fighting amongst themselves at the cost of governance.

The rapid rise of Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), which has been linked with Pakistani deep state in the past, in Afghanistan and the attack on Shia mosques is a matter of serious concern.

Another area of concern is the treatment of women at the hands of medieval Sunni Pashtun forces apart from Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazara communities in Afghanistan.

It is only a matter of time that already debt-ridden Afghanistan and its mentor Pakistan cry out for help from the world in the name of humanitarian assistance.

The aggressive moves of China, which is a member of G-20, against Taiwan, Japan and in the South China Sea will also find a voice at the Rome summit. While US president Joe Biden has openly acknowledged the American commitment to defend Taiwan against China, the new Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida is also considering upgrading the security alliance with Washington.

While PM Modi has been holding meetings on COP26 with concerned senior ministry officials, India is expected to push for climate finance, carbon trading mechanisms as well as pitch for compensation for developing nations including India which is also impacted by climate change.

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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