Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with Pope Francis, head of the Sovereign of the Vatican City State, at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican, on his day two of the visit to Italy. During the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit India at an early date.
External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval accompanied PM Modi during his brief visit to the Vatican City today, ahead of G20 Summit.
PM Modi took to Twitter and expressed happiness over his meet with the head of the Catholic Church. The meeting was scheduled for 20 minutes but went on for an hour.
“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,” PM Modi said.
During a one-hour-long conversation, both the leaders exchanged views on various issues, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During a brief conversation, the cordial relations between the Holy See and India were discussed,” reads a note by Pontiff’s Press Office.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi briefed the Pope about the ambitious initiatives taken by India in combating climate change as well as India’s success in administering one billion Covid-19 vaccination doses.
During their first-in-person meeting, Prime Minister Modi presented Pope Francis a silver candlestick and a book on the commitment to the environment. Pope Francis also gifted PM Modi a bronze plaque with the inscription “The desert will become a garden”, volumes of papal documents, his message for World Day of Peace and the document on Human Fraternity, signed on Feb 04, 2019, in Abu Dhabi by the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.
At the Vatican, PM Modi further met Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Vatican Secretary for Relations with State, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.
Prior to PM Modi, then Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, I K Gujral, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had met the then Popes. Last, more than 20 years ago, then Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee have met late Pope John Paul II, now a saint, on June 26, 2000.
PM Narendra Modi arrives for #G20 Summit:
Following his meeting with Pope Francis, PM Modi arrived for G20 Summit at Roma Convention Center and was received by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
The G-20 has emerged as the premier global forum for international economic cooperation. Upon his arrival, PM Narendra Modi joined the other G20 leaders for a family photo at the G20 Summit. On the sidelines of the G20 Summit, PM Modi also held bilateral meetings with various leaders including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron among others.