Pakistan to join India's effort for SAARC strategy to fight COVID-19 

Written By: Anas Mallick , Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi/Islamabad Published: Mar 14, 2020, 07.52 AM(IST)

A worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Photograph:( AFP )

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In a tweet, spokesperson of Pakistani Foreign Ministry Aisha Farooqui said, "The threat of #COVID-19 requires coordinated efforts at global and regional level. We have communicated that SAPM on Health will be available to participate in the video conference of SAARC member countries on the issue."

Pakistan has confirmed that it will join Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal of a video conference for a joint SAARC strategy on fighting coronavirus outbreak. Special Assistant to Pakistan Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr Zafar Mirza will participate in the video conference of SAARC leaders on coronavirus outbreak.

In a tweet, spokesperson of Pakistani Foreign Ministry Aisha Farooqui said, "The threat of #COVID-19 requires coordinated efforts at global and regional level. We have communicated that SAPM on Health will be available to participate in the video conference of SAARC member countries on the issue."

This has been conveyed to India through diplomatic channels as well. 

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Yesterday all SAARC countries welcomed the idea and affirmed participation in the meeting to deal with the pandemic.

Bhutan PM, Nepali PM, Sri Lankan President, Maldivian President took to Twitter and accepted the proposal and called it necessary.

Sri Lankan Acting High Commissioner N Kadurugamuwa told Wion, "This is a good initiative by Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to fight against the deadly coronavirus epidemic threatening the world. We welcome this timely initiative. Our President His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa has responded to the prime minister's the initiative" and "expressed his willingness to join the discussion in this regard and share our learnings and best practices as well as to learn from other SAARC members"

Afghanistan accepted Indian government's proposal with Afghan government spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi telling Wion "We believe that it is an important call, and Afghan government welcomes it and looking forward to working with all SAARC members".

Watch | India reports second COVID-19 death

 

Afghan's envoy to India Tahir Qadiry called PM Modi's proposal on joint SAARC strategy on Coronavirus "timely", adding, "United we stand, Divided we fall".

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Momen while confirming Dhaka's representation, said, "its a good proposal".

SAARC as a grouping has been defunct since 2016 after 2016 terror attack in Uri, India in which 19 Indian soldiers. The attack was planned by Pakistan based terrorist which led to India boycotting the summit in Islamabad that year. New Delhi was joined by other SAARC countries to boycott the 2016 Islamabad summit and since then India has been focusing on BIMSTEC grouping whose leaders were called for the other taking ceremony of PM Modi for his 2nd term last year.

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