With the Coronavirus pandemic assuming threatening proportions, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the lead and called for greater cooperation amongst the SAARC nations. Modi, in fact, suggested a video conference amongst SAARC countries to deliberate and devise means to fight the deadly virus.
I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight Coronavirus.
We could discuss, via video conferencing, ways to keep our citizens healthy.
Together, we can set an example to the world, and contribute to a healthier planet.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 13, 2020
Modi’s tweet calling for more cooperation in handling of the virus around the world and especially in the South Asian region elicited a positive response from many SAARC nations.
SAARC consists of the following nations: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
This is what we call leadership. As members of this region, we must come together in such times. Smaller economies are hit harder, so we must coordinate. With your leadership, I have no doubt we will see immediate and impactful outcome. Looking forward to the video conference. https://t.co/2RnokAJQOs
— PM Bhutan (@PMBhutan) March 13, 2020
The Bhutanese PM said that they look forward to the leadership of the Indian PM in tackling this virus.
Thank you PM @narendramodi for taking the initiative on this important endeavor. Covid 19 requires collective effort to defeat it. Maldives welcomes this proposal and would fully support such a regional effort. https://t.co/2fxQxe9w1h
— Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (@ibusolih) March 13, 2020
President of the Maldives Ibrahim Solih while thanking the PM said that his nation welcomes this regional initiative.
Thank you for the great initiative Shri @narendramodi – #LKA is ready to join the discussion & share our learnings & best practices and to learn from other #SAARC members. Let’s unite in solidarity during these trying times and keep our citizens safe. https://t.co/fAiT5w3O8D
— Gotabaya Rajapaksa (@GotabayaR) March 13, 2020
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister Lt. Colonel Gotabaya Rajapaksa while welcoming the initiative called for exchange of best practices to tackle the virus.
I welcome the idea advanced by Prime Minister Modiji @narendramodi for chalking out a strong strategy by the leadership of the SAARC nations to fight Coronavirus. My government is ready to work closely with SAARC Member States to protect our citizens from this deadly disease.
— KP Sharma Oli (@PM_Nepal) March 13, 2020
Finally, the Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli extended support to this initiative and called for close cooperation amongst the members of the SAARC nations.
The Afghan Government strongly welcomes the proposal of HE The Prime Minister of India and readiness of the other SAARC members to work together devising a unified strategy to fight the Coronavirus in the region. https://t.co/vhzRcdNVWi
— Sediq Sediqqi (@SediqSediqqi) March 13, 2020
Afghanistan too has welcomed the initiative. The Spokesperson to the President has tweeted welcoming the initiative.
SAARC may have lost its relevance of late, but COVID-19 offers the perfect opportunity to these countries to work together in fighting the virus and in ensuring better integration of the region.