Pope Francis will come to India
Pope Francis has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation and he is likely to visit India soon.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who was in Rome, said that Pope Francis has accepted PM Modi's invitation and he will come to India soon. A 20-minute meeting was scheduled between PM Modi and Pope Francis, which lasted for about an hour. Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that in the year 1999, Pope John Paul II had come to India for the last time. Now Pope Francis has accepted PM Modi's invitation. Pope Francis said, 'You have given me the best gift. I am looking forward to coming to India soon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that his meeting with Pope Francis was very warm and he discussed various issues including the challenges posed by COVID-19 and climate change with the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Also invited him to visit India soon. Modi is the first Indian prime minister whom Francis has met since becoming Pope in 2013. Modi also shared photographs from the meeting. Modi tweeted after the historic meeting at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, "Very warm meeting with Pope Francis. Had the opportunity to discuss various issues with him. He was also invited to visit India.
The Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release that Pope Francis received Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. Prior to this, the last meeting of an Indian Prime Minister with a Pope was in June 2000, when the then Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the Vatican and met Pope John Paul II. The release said that India and The Holy See (Vatican City) have had friendly relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948. India is the second country in Asia with a large Catholic population. It said that during the meeting, the two leaders also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences for people around the world and the challenge posed by climate change.
His Holiness (Pope Francis) appreciated India's assistance to countries in need during the pandemic, the release said. It said that the Prime Minister invited Pope Francis to visit India, which he gladly accepted. Sources said the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Pope Francis was scheduled for only 20 minutes, but it lasted for an hour. Sources said that the two discussed many issues like fighting climate change and eradicating poverty to make the earth better.
"During a brief conversation, cordial relations between the Holy See (Vatican City) and India were discussed," the Vatican Press Office said in a brief statement. Earlier, Pope Francis welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Vatican Apostolic Palace. Prime Minister Modi was accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the Vatican.
According to Vatican News, Prime Minister Modi presented a specially made silver candle stand and a book, 'The Climate Climb: India's Strategy, Action and Achievements' to the Pope during the hour-long meeting. According to the release, the Pope presented Modi with a bronze plaque, books of papal documents, writing 'The desert will become a garden'.