• Monday, June 27, 2022


Modi scores with his ‘SAARC joint strategy’ proposal amid virus crisis

FILE PHOTO: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks on stage during his victory speech at the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) headquarters after winning India’s general election, in New Delhi. (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIAN prime minister was widely praised for his leadership abilities when he proposed a ‘SAARC joint strategy’ to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The prime minister had reached out to the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) to chalk out a strong strategy to combat coronavirus outbreak and called for a discussion through video conferencing by the grouping’s leadership.

The idea from Modi came on Friday (13) through his twitter handle. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka—the other Saarc members—had responded quickly to Modi’s call.

Lastly, Pakistan too endorsed the proposal which was widely hailed as a diplomatic win by the Indian premier in the sub-continent.

Pakistan has said it will participate in a video conference of Saarc countries as it acknowledged the need for “coordinated efforts at the global and regional level”, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested the bloc could work together to counter the threat of coronavirus.

The spokesperson for Pakistan’s foreign affairs ministry responded with a tweet and said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant for health had been deputed to participate in the proposed video conference.

“The threat of COVID-19 requires coordinated efforts at the global and regional level. We have communicated that SAPM (special assistant to Prime Minister) on Health will be available to participate in a video conference of SAARC member countries on the issue,” the tweet read.

The spokesperson had earlier said Pakistan was ready to extend assistance to its neighbours.

India has so far recorded two deaths and more than 80 infections, including 17 foreigners.

Pakistan has reported 21 cases and Afghanistan has so far reported seven positive cases and 60 suspected cases.

There is one case each in Bhutan and Nepal, two in Sri Lanka, three in Bangladesh, and eight in the Maldives.

Officials of the external affairs, home and health ministries have briefed representatives of more than 130 countries and international organisations on India’s steps to counter COVID-19.

Eastern Eye

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