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PM Modi meets Pope Francis in Vatican city ahead of G-20 Summit

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
PM Modi meets Pope Francis in Vatican city ahead of G-20 Summit

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Rome to attend the 16th G20 Summit, met Pope Francis at the Vatican City today on October 30 to hold a one-on-one meet where they are expected to discuss a range of areas of interests, in terms of the general global perspectives and issues such as Covid-19.

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While briefing on the details of the prime minister’s engagements in Italy, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters on Friday, “The Prime Minister will have a separate call. He will be meeting his Holiness on a one-on-one basis. And that could, after a certain period of time, be followed up by delegation-level talks.”

Shringla said the Vatican has not set any agenda for the talks. “I believe tradition is not to have an agenda when you discuss issues with His Holiness. And I think we respect that. I’m sure the issues that will be covered will cover a range of areas of interests in terms of the general global perspectives and issues that are important to all of us,” he added.

Covid-19, health issues, how we can work together…and this is something that, I think would be the general trend in the discussions,” Shringla added.

On Thursday, PM Modi in his departure statement had said that he would be visiting Rome and the Vatican City from October 29-31.

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“During my visit to Italy, I will also visit the Vatican City, to call on His Holiness Pope Francis and meet Secretary of State, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin,” PM Modi said.

From Rome, the prime minister will travel to Glasgow, the UK, at the invitation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

PM Modi, who reached Rome on Friday, held a joint meeting with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen. The leaders discussed ways to enhance economic as well as people-to-people linkages aimed at creating a better planet during their “productive interaction”.

PM Modi, European Council President Michel and European Commission President Leyen had attended the 15th India-EU summit in July 2020 in a virtual mode.

On Friday, PM Modi paid floral tributes at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Rome, saying his ideals reverberate globally.

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“In Rome, I had the opportunity to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi, whose ideals give courage and inspiration to millions globally,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

PMO sources said the prime minister has made it a point to pay rich tributes to the ‘Father of the Nation’ during every overseas trip since he took office in 2014.

PM Modi also held the first in-person meeting with his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit during which the two leaders had extensive talks on diversifying bilateral ties.

The prime minister was also accorded a guard of honour.

The two leaders also “resolved to cooperate for accelerating clean energy transition to fight climate change and reiterated the commitment to further expanding trade and investment linkages,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.

This will be PM Modi’s third foreign visit amid the Covid-19 pandemic after Bangladesh in March and the US in September.

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