PM Modi bats for joint SAARC strategy to fight coronavirus, neighbours react

Calling on SAARC member states to set an example for the world, Modi proposed a video conference of leaders of the countries to chalk out a strong strategy to fight coronavirus.

Published: 13th March 2020 05:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2020 08:07 AM   |  A+A-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the inaugural session of 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu. (File Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As the number of cases crossed 80 in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged the leadership of the SAARC nations to chalk out a strategy to fight the spread of 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,” he tweeted.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation has India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka as its members.

In another tweet, the PM said, “South Asia, which is home to a significant number of the global population, should leave no stone unturned to ensure that the people are healthy. Our planet is battling the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. At various levels, governments and people are trying their best to combat it.”

Leaders of several nations welcomed the initiative and expressed willingness to work to deal with the spread of the virus.

“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,” Bhutan’s PM Lotay Tshering tweeted. Nepalese PM KP Sharma Oli also took to Twitter welcoming the idea “advanced by Prime Minister Modiji”.

“My government is ready to work closely with SAARC Member States to protect our citizens from this deadly disease,” he said. Similar interests were expressed by Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Bangladesh deputy foreign minister Shahriar Alam.


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