EAM lists Cross-border terrorism, blocking connectivity & obstructing trade as 3 challenges at SAARC FMs meet

WION NEW DELHI Sep 24, 2020, 06.37 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar Photograph:( WION )

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In the meet, EAM, "Reaffirmed India’s commitment to Neighbourhood First policy" and "towards building a connected, integrated, secure and prosperous South Asia".

Hitting out at Pakistan, India's external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar has listed 3 challenges in front of South Asia--Cross-border terrorism, blocking connectivity and obstructing trade at the virtually SAARC Foreign ministers meet. The informal SAARC FMs meet takes place every year on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, but this year taking place virtually due to COVID pandemic.

In the meet, EAM, "Reaffirmed India’s commitment to Neighbourhood First policy" and "towards building a connected, integrated, secure and prosperous South Asia".

Special focus was on jointly dealing the COVID crisis with Jaishankar highlighting how New Delhi committed to $ 10 million for COVID emergency fund and how it has reached out to several countries of SAARC with essential drugs, COVID protection & testing kits.

He emphasized how India supported SAARC neighbours amidst COVID and give examples of Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. India extended $ 150 million foreign currency swap support to the Maldives, Currency swap support of $ 200 million to Bhutan and $ 400 million to Sri Lanka during the course of this year.

Amidst the pandemic, health professionals of SAARC met to share information and best practices of the region and SAARC Food Bank mechanism was activated to mitigate the adverse impact of the crisis.

Indian Prime Minister has taken a lead in calling SAARC heads of governments virtual meet to deal with the crisis. This was the first such regional meet on COVID crisis anywhere in the world.

Bangladesh foreign minister Abdul Momen, Nepali FM Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Afghan FM Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Maldives FM Abdulla Shahid, Bhutan FMTandi Dorji, Sri Lankan FM Dinesh Gunawardene were present in the meet.