Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday proposed formulation of a joint strategy by SAARC nations to fight the coronavirus, a suggestion promptly backed by all member states, barring Pakistan.
Calling on SAARC members to set an example for the world, Modi reached out to the eight-member regional grouping and pitched for a video conference among the leaders to chalk out a strong strategy to fight coronavirus, which has killed nearly 5,000 people globally.
His appeal got a prompt response from Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Bhutanese premier Lotay Tshering, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Afghan government, all of whom welcomed the proposal.
However, there was no immediate response from the Pakistan government.
In a series of tweets, Modi said,”our planet is battling the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. At various levels, governments and people are trying their best to combat it. South Asia, which is home to a significant number of the global population should leave no stone unturned to ensure our people are healthy.” He said, “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.”