Vatican City: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Pope Francis to India after a one-on-one meeting in Vatican City on Saturday.
He was accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar. The meeting was scheduled only for 20 minutes but went on for an hour, a news agency reported.
“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,” said a tweet from PM Modi’s personal account.
PM Modi and the Pope discussed a wide range of issues aimed at making our planet better such as fighting climate change and removing poverty, sources said. “It may be recalled that the last Papal Visit happened in 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and Pope John Paul II came to India. Now it is during PM Modi’s Prime Ministerial term that the Pope has been invited to visit India,” sources said.
The meeting took place ahead of the delegation-level talks during which they are expected to discuss a range of issues such as COVID-19.
PM Modi is on a two-day visit to Rome for the G20 Summit at the invitation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. There was no set agenda for the talks with the Pope. “I believe tradition is not to have an agenda when you discuss issues with His Holiness. And I think we respect that. I’m sure the issues that will be covered would cover a range of areas of interests in terms of the general global perspectives and issues that are important to all of us,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said yesterday.
PM Modi then headed to Glasgow in the UK for the COP26 meeting at the invitation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The PM interacted with people of various communities, including the Indian community and friends of India from different organisations, in the Italian capital on Friday. Earlier, PM Modi had paid floral tributes at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Rome.