Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday he had had a “very warm meeting” with Pope Francis and discussed a wide range of issues with the head of the Catholic Church and also invited him to visit India. Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to meet Francis since he became Pope in 2013, also tweeted photos of him kissing Pope Francis.
“I had a very warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with him and I also invited him to visit India, Modi tweeted after the historic meeting at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The last papal visit was in 1999 When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister and Pope John Paul II came, it was now during Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister that the Pope was invited to visit India , sources said.
In a brief statement, the Vatican press office said Pope Francis had received in audience, at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Subsequently, at the Secretariat of State, Prime Minister Modi greeted Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, on the security of relations with the States.
“During a brief conversation, cordial relations between the Holy See and India were discussed, he said. At the Vatican, Modi was accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Minister of Foreign Affairs S Jaishankar.
Ahead of the historic meeting, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Friday that the Vatican had not set an agenda for the meeting. I believe the tradition is not to have an agenda when discussing issues with His Holiness. And I think we would respect that, he said. “I’m sure the issues would cover a range of areas of interest in terms of the broad global outlook and issues that are important to all of us, COVID-19, health issues, how we can work together to keep the peace and tranquility and that is something which, I think, would be the general tendency of the discussions, he added.