The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation led by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, held discussions regarding the issues pertaining to the spread of COVID – 19.
The Conference was joined by the member countries Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Pakistan, Maldives, and Nepal.
PREPARE BUT DON’T PANIC
PM Narendra Modi, in his introductory speech to the Conference, said that “Prepare but don’t Panic” has been India’s agenda while dealing with the Pandemic and that protocols were made for dealing with each state of the Pandemic.
Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, talked about Afghanistan’s increased vulnerability because of sharing borders with Iran and that and said that a task force of SAARC should be appointed for Modelling of Diffusion impacts.
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of Maldives, said that Maldives had reported no deaths so far due to COVID-19. A shortage of medical professionals and a drop in tourism is a major concern for the country, however.
Srilanka has restricted entries for tourists from a lot of affected countries. Gotabya Rajapaksha, President of Srilanka, put forth the opinion that SAARC measures should be formulating measures to deal with the blow on the economy.
Other members described the measures taken so far and expressed what they think was crucial to be done.
SAARC COVID-19 EMERGENCY FUND
Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed to create a COVID-19 emergency fund, which is to be based on a voluntary contribution from all the member countries. He said that India could start with an initial amount of 10 Million US dollars.
“We are assembling a rapid response team of doctors and specialists in India along with testing kits and other types of equipment. They will be on standby to be placed at your disposal if required. We can only arrange online training capsules for your emergency response teams
which will be based on the model we have used in our own country to raise the capacity of all our emergency staff,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
A further appointment of “nodal experts” for developing a common strategy from each of the member countries and a similar video conference one week from the SAARC meeting.