The fifth Indian Prime Minister to visit the Pope

Q.Finance Minister Narendra Modi met with the Pope. The two had a one and a half hour long discussion. Modi was in Rome to attend the G20 summit when he met with the pope at the Vatican. The meeting was held at 12 noon Indian time in the library of the Papal House. The Pope was invited to India. After the visit of Pope John Paul II to India in 1999, a pope is now preparing to visit India.

Modi and Pope Francis meet at Vatican Photo:

With this, Narendra Modi became the fifth Indian Prime Minister to visit the Pope. Earlier, Indian Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, IK Gujral and Atal Bihari Vajpayee met the Pope.

In July 1955, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru met with Pope Pius XII. The meeting discussed issues including the liberation of Goa. During the meeting, Nehru told the pope that what was happening in Goa was not a religious issue but a political one. Indira Gandhi was also present with Nehru.

In 1981, when she was the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi met the Pope again. Indira Gandhi meets Pope John Paul II During his tenure as Prime Minister in 1997, IK Gujral met Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Pope in 1997.

Visit to India

Pope Paul IV was the first pope to visit India. He visited India in 1964. He arrived in Mumbai for the Lord’s Supper. John Paul II visited India in February 1986 and 1999. John Paul II visited India in 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

There were huge protests against John Paul II’s 1999 visit to India. The Sangh Parivar organizations came out in protest. The protesters demanded that Christian missionaries convert and that the pope apologize. VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore’s remarks against the Pope had drawn criticism even within the BJP.

Nayanar and Pinarayi Vijayan with Pope John Paul II | Photo: (left)

IKE Nayanar and Pinarayi were among those who met

Former Kerala Chief Minister IKE Nayanar also visited the Pope. Nayanar visited John Paul II in 1997. He then gave the Pope a Bhagavad Gita. Nayanar was presented with a rosary by John Paul II. He kept that rosary throughout his life. Today’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was also part of the visit.

In October 2019, former Union Minister V Muraleedharan also visited the Pope. The Bhagavad Gita was presented to the Pope by V Muraleedharan.

Modi presents gifts to Pope photo: AP

Gift transfer

During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a silver candle pedestal and a book on climate change. The Pope’s gift to Modi was a bronze plaque with an olive leaf, a symbol of hope in the Bible.

Content Highlights: Before Modi, Indian PMs who called on the Pope, and Popes who visited India


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