PM Modi meets Pope Francis in Vatican City; discusses covid-19, poverty and climate change
Vatican -On Saturday, for the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pope Francis in the Vatican City as part of Rome’s visit ahead of the G20 Summit scheduled in Italy.
The meeting was booked for just 20 minutes but continued for an hour, where they examined a broad scope of issues, for example, climate change, poverty and covid-19. PM Modi was welcomed by the Vatican City’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
PM Modi said in a tweet, “Had a warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the chance to examine a wide scope of issues with him and invited him to visit India. @Pontifex”
Before PM Modi, other former eminent prime ministers of India who had the privilege to meet with the then popes were India’s first PM late Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter late Shrimati Indira Gandhi during her tenure as PM, late Prime Minister Shri I K Gujral, and late Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Pope John Paul II was the last supreme pontiff to visit India in 1999 when Shri Atal Bihar Vajpayee was the PM. The greeting for another Pontifical visit to India has been reached out during PM Modi’s government. Likewise, he is the primary Indian PM to meet Pope Francis since he became the head of the Catholic Church in 2013.
According to The Indian Express, the visit is essential as it happens ahead of the Assembly elections in Goa, where the Christian community has a robust support platform. As per party leaders, the local votes is essential for the Bhartiya Janta Party in the state, where it has been in government with the support of other party groups.
As per Census 2011, they compose 2.3 percent of the populace, after Hindus (79.8%) and the Muslims (14.2%). Christians are the third biggest religious community in India, The Indian Express reported.
Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla expressed on Friday during a press conference on PM Modi’s visit to Italy that the Vatican had not placed an agenda for the meeting since the practice isn’t to have a plan when discussing matters with Pope, India respects that.
“I’m certain the issues would cover a range of topics that are essential to us all, such as the Pandemic, health care, how we can cooperate to maintain peace and harmony, and I think they would have an overall general conversation, Shringla added.