New Delhi: India will host a health secretary-level meet virtually with other South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries on Thursday to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Pakistan has also been invited to attend the workshop. This is a virtual workshop on the management of COVID-19, response to the pandemic and exchange of best practices amid the pandemic. On March 15, 2020, during a video conference of the SAARC Heads of State, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed a Coronavirus Emergency Fund for the region.
This emergency fund was set up in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. The initiative seeks to mitigate the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic in the South Asian region with India contributing USD10 million to it.
Other members of the SAARC expressed their support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his proposal for the coronavirus emergency fund. India is at the forefront in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and has gifted covid vaccines to countries including Bangladesh with 20 lakhs doses, Myanmar with 17 lakhs doses, Nepal with 10 lakhs, Bhutan with 1.5 lakhs, the Maldives with 1 lakh, Mauritius with 1 lakh, Seychelles with 50000, Sri Lanka with 5 lakhs and Afghanistan with 5 lakhs among others.
SAARC groups together Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. November 2014, when Nepal hosted the SAARC leaders’ summit, was the last time that leaders of these nations had shared a platform.