• Saturday, June 25, 2022

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Modi proposes SAARC joint strategy against COVID-19; leaders endorse

FILE PHOTO: Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, gives a speech at a SAARC Summit in the past,. (Photo by Narendra Shrestha – Pool/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (13) proposed a strong joint strategy involving SAARC countries to fight the coronavirus threat in the region.

“I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight Coronavirus. We could discuss, via video conferencing, ways to keep our citizens healthy,” Modi said in a series of posts on his official Twitter handle.

“Together, we can set an example to the world, and contribute to a healthier planet,” he said in his post.

His proposal has found backing from the leaders of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives. Pakistan is yet to respond.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) comprises Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Maldives.

The Indian Prime Minister said “Our planet is battling the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. At various levels, governments and people are trying their best to combat it.

“South Asia, which is home to a significant number of the global population, should leave no stone unturned to ensure our people are healthy,” he added.

“Thank you for the great initiative Shri  @narendramodi- #LKA is ready to join the discussion & share our learnings & best practices and to learn from other #SAARC members. Let’s unite in solidarity during these trying times and keep our citizens safe,” said Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan president on twitter.

India has reported 82 positive coronavirus positive cases so far with two deaths.

SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy.

SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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