Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leaders and representatives from SAARC nations on Sunday participated in a video conference meet to chalk out strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic which has killed 5,984 people across the world.
In the discussion, PM Modi proposed to create a COVID-19 emergency fund and offered 10 million US dollars for the same. However, he told the SAARC leaders that the based on voluntary contributions.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was one of the leaders to welcome PM Modi's proposal. "I welcome Prime Minister Modi's proposal especially for longer term economic recovery and to form COVID-19 emergency fund," he said.
In his address, Modi called upon SAARC nations to "remain more vigilant" amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus that has infected nearly 150 people in the region.
"As we all know, COVID-19 has recently been classified by the World Health Organisation as a pandemic. So far, our region has listed fewer than 150 cases. But we need to remain vigilant," Prime Minister Modi said in a video conference with all SAARC member countries.
"As we prepare to face this challenge, let me briefly share India's experience of combating the spread of this virus so far. 'Prepare, but don't panic' has been our guiding mantra," he added.
PM Modi said that a Rapid Response Team of doctors and specialists is being assembeled in India, which will be "on standby, to be placed at your disposal, if required".
"We have set up an Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal to better trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted. We could share this Disease Surveillance software with SAARC partners, and training on using this," he added.
PM Modi said that later the SAARC nations could create a common research platform, to coordinate research on controlling epidemic diseases. "The Indian Council of Medical Research can offer help coordinating such an exercise," he added.
The Prime Minister had begun his address by thanking Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to join the conference immediately after being discharged from the hospital following a kidney transplant.
The Prime Minister had earlier proposed that the leaders of the SAARC countries should hold a discussion via video conference to chalk out a joint strategy to fight coronavirus.
(With Agency Inputs)