VATICAN: On a crisp winter morning in Eternal City, a meeting of minds took place at the Papal place between the leader of the world’s largest democracy and the much-revered head of over 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. This meeting, away from the glare of G20 politicking in Rome, was scheduled to last only twenty minutes, but stretched to over one hour, underlining a developing chemistry between the two leaders.
The meeting on October 30 at the Papal Palace in the Vatican, the world’s smallest state, was historic as PM Modi became only the second prime minister of India to meet the Holy see in person. In June 2000, then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited the Vatican and met the then Pope, His Holiness John Paul II.
The Modi-Pope meeting has an added resonance as India is home to the second largest Catholic population in Asia.
During the meeting on October 30, the two leaders discussed the Covid-19 pandemic and 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,” said a statement by India’s Ministry of Extenal Affairs. “His Holiness appreciated India’s assistance to countries in need during the pandemic,” said the press statement.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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