Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church at the Vatican, in his first-ever one-on-one meeting. They discussed a wide range of issues including COVID-19, general world views, and maintaining peace and calm.

Prime Minister Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to have met Francis since he became pope in 2013. At the Vatican, Modi was accompanied by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S.

Sources told News 18 that the meeting was scheduled for only twenty minutes, but it lasted for an hour. Prime Minister Modi invited the Pope to visit India. The last visit of the Pope occurred in 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and Pope John Paul II attended.

The Prime Minister also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican State Secretary of State. Ahead of the historic meeting, Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Friday that the prime minister would have a separate meeting with the Pope.

He said during a press conference in Rome that he would meet with His Holiness on an individual basis. Shringla said the Prime Minister will invite His Holiness Pope Francis to Vatican City, after which he will attend the G20 sessions, where he will also hold more bilateral meetings and we will continue to keep you informed.

He said that the meeting could, after a certain period of time, be followed by delegation-level talks. The Vatican did not set an agenda. I believe that tradition should not have an agenda when you discuss issues with His Holiness. I think we will respect that.

I’m sure the issues will cover a range of areas of interest in terms of general worldviews and issues that concern us all, COVID-19, health issues, how we can work together to maintain peace and calm and that is something that I think will be the general direction in the discussions. .

(with PTI input)

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