Specially-made candle holder to bronze plaque: PM Modi, Pope Francis exchange gifts in Vatican City
During the visit, PM Modi also extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit India which was accepted with pleasure.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a specially made silver candle holder and a book on India's climate initiatives to Pope Francis on Saturday as they held their first one-to-one meeting in a private audience at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to meet Francis since he became the Pope in 2013.
According to the Vatican News, Prime Minister Modi gifted the head of the Roman Catholic church a specially-made silver candelabra and a book titled, “The Climate Climb: India's strategy, actions and achievements" during their meeting which lasted for an hour.
Pope reciprocated the gesture with a bronze plaque which had the inscription “The desert will become a garden”. He also gifted the Indian Prime Minister volumes of papal documents, his message for World Day of Peace and the document on Human Fraternity, signed on February 4 of 2019 in Abu Dhabi and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the report stated.
PM Modi explained that the candelabra was specially made and the book is on climate change, an issue close to the 84-year-old pontiff who took charge in 2013. The two leaders discussed a variety of issues including the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences, as well as the challenge posed by climate change around the world.
This was also the first meeting between an Indian Prime Minister and the Pope in more than two decades. Late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the last prime minister to visit the Vatican in June 2000, when he met the then Pope, His Holiness John Paul II.
PM Modi also extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit India, a request that was accepted with pleasure.
India and The Holy See have friendly relations dating back to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948. India is home to the second largest Catholic population in Asia.