New Delhi, Oct 30: Pope Francis received Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a private audience at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on Saturday.
This was the first meeting between an Indian Prime Minister and the Pope in more than two decades. In June 2000, Late Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had last visited the Vatican and met the then Pope, His Holiness John Paul II. India and The Holy See have friendly relations dating back to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948. India is home to the second-largest Catholic population in Asia.
During today’s meeting, the two leaders discussed the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences for people across the world. They also discussed the challenge posed by climate change. Prime Minister briefed the Pope about the ambitious initiatives taken by India in combating climate change as well as India’s success in administering one billion Covid-19 vaccination doses. His Holiness appreciated India’s assistance to countries in need during the pandemic.
The Prime Minister extended an invitation to His Holiness Pope Francis to visit India at an early date, which was accepted with pleasure. He also met the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.