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Modi to meet Pope on his way to COP26 climate meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 18th India-ASEAN Summit, through video conferencing from New Delhi on October 28, 2021. Photo: Prime Minister’s Office via PTI  

Ahead of his visit to the U.K. to attend the G20 meet and the COP-26 World Leaders Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Pope Francis in the Vatican City during a visit to Italy, where he will also participate in the first in-person G20 summit since the beginning of the pandemic. The October 29-31 meetings in Italy will be followed by Mr. Modi’s participation at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, where he will hold several bilateral meetings apart from working towards a “balanced outcome” in the climate talks.

“Over the next few days, I will be in Rome, the Vatican City and Glasgow to attend important multilateral gatherings like the G20 and COP26. There would also be various bilateral and community-related programmes during the visit,” Mr. Modi said in a pre-departure message.

The half-an-hour long meeting between PM Modi and Pope Francis will take place on Saturday morning.

“It is obvious that this is a very important meeting,” said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, briefing the media in a special interaction on Thursday afternoon. The Prime Minister will hold several bilateral meetings in Rome and Glasgow, Mr. Shringla said, including those with the Crown Prince Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who will host the G20 in Bali in 2022. At the G20 summit, India will highlight the need for better international financial management.

“As the co-chair of the G20 anti-corruption working group, India has worked very closely with all G20 members to come out with some strong and tangible outcomes, including G20 high-level principles on preventing and combating corruption,” said Mr. Shringla, stating that G20 members have partnered India’s drive against money laundering.

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The PM will hold bilateral meetings with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, heads of the upcoming G20 and COP26 summits, respectively. India has used the G20 platform for dealing with tax evasion and corruption, said Mr. Shringla. Sustainable development, international financial management, and the situation in Afghanistan and fuel transition, are some of the issues that are expected to dominate Mr. Modi’s interactions in Rome and Glasgow.

Mr. Shringla mentioned that the G20 is deliberating on creating a mechanism to counter pandemics in the future, and highlighted the issue of the origin of the COVID-19 virus. “The issue of the origin of the COVID virus has been a subject of a fair amount of discussion in the international fora, and as you know, this is being dealt with by the WHO, and this will continue to be addressed in the appropriate forums,” said Mr. Shringla.

The Foreign Secretary also said that India is “alive” to the intensifying humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and emphasised a solution will have to be found within the framework of the UNSC Resolution 2593. “On the issue of humanitarian assistance, we have been forthcoming,” said Mr. Shringla, seeking unhindered and unimpeded access to the Afghan people who need humanitarian assistance urgently.

Mr. Shringla highlighted India’s commitment to solar power and limiting the rise in global temperature, and in clean technology. Mr. Modi will deliver the “national statement” at the World Leaders Summit on November 1 at COP26. The summit in Glasgow will also witness the launch of the global Green Grids Initiative. Mr. Modi, alongside the U.K. and Australian Prime Ministers, will also launch the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) initiative aimed at island nations and developing countries.

“We are looking forward to COP26 that will bring forth fair and balanced discussions and a balanced outcome. We hope COP26 will register pathbreaking advances in finance, technology transfer, capacity building,” said Mr. Shringla laying down the vision for a “green and inclusive recovery” from the pandemic.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 6:10:27 PM |

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