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Modi hugs Pope Francis at G7; invites him to India

By Aditi Khanna
June 14, 2024 23:41 IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday invited Pope Francis to visit India and said he admired the pontiff's commitment to serving the people.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis embrace each other at the G7 Outreach Summit, in Apulia on Friday. Photograph: ANI Photo

They met with a warm embrace at the Outreach session of the G7 Summit in Apulia, southern Italy where they joined other world leaders to deliberate on the topic of Artificial Intelligence, Energy, Africa and the Mediterranean.

'Met Pope Francis on the sidelines of the @G7 Summit. I admire his commitment to serve people and make our planet better. Also invited him to visit India,' Modi said in a post on X.


Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party have made several overtures to the Christian community before the general elections in the country.

Modi was seen in a light-hearted exchange with the 87-year-old head of the worldwide Catholic Church, who was taken around the table in a wheelchair to greet each of the world leaders gathered at the summit venue of Borgo Egnazia.

'It is up to each of us to make good use of AI,' the Pope said in his address at the Outreach session on the topic of Artificial Intelligence, Energy, Africa and the Mediterranean, attended by the participants of the G7 and other leaders of the Global South invited by Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni in her capacity as president of this year's summit.

She greeted the 'Holy Father' and then joined the wheelchair-bound octogenarian as he greeted leaders with handshakes including US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and French President Emmanuel Macron among others.

The prime minister met Pope Francis during a private audience at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican in October 2021.

At the time, the two leaders discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences for people across the world. They also discussed the challenges posed by climate change.

The 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 is said to have appreciated India's assistance to countries in need during the pandemic.

According to the PMO, India and The Holy See -- the Vatican-based government of the Catholic Church -- have friendly relations dating back to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948.

India being home to the second-largest Catholic population in Asia is hopeful of a papal visit next year.

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Aditi Khanna
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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