Meeting between PM Modi, Pope scheduled for 20 minutes goes on for an hour
New Delhi, Oct 30: The meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis which was scheduled for just 20 minutes went on for an hour.
The PM also invited the Pope to visit India. The last papal visit had taken place in 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. That year the Pope was John Paul II.
The meeting between the PM and the Pope was described as a warm one. They discussed a wide range of issues with the aim of making the planet a better place, removing poverty and to fight climate change.
"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," Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters on Friday while briefing the details of the Prime Minister's engagements in Italy.
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 would cover a range of areas of interests in terms of the general global perspectives and issues that are important to all of us," he said.
"COVID-19, health issues, how we can work together...and this is something that, I think would be the general trend in the discussions," he added.
In his departure statement on Thursday, PM Modi said he will be visiting Rome and the Vatican City from October 29-31.
"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 had said.
From Rome, PM Modi will travel to Glasgow, the UK, at the invitation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
(With PTI inputs)