India proposes emergency covid-19 fund for SAARC nations

  • Category
    International Organisation
  • Published
    25th Mar, 2020

Context

India pledged $10 million toward a Covid-19 emergency fund and said it was putting together a rapid response team of doctors and specialists for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) nations as part of an initiative led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

About

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka on 8 December 1985.
  • It comprises eight Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Secretariat of the Association was set up in Kathmandu on 17 January 1987.
  • The objectives of the Association as outlined in the SAARC Charter are:
    • to promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life
    • to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals with the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potentials
    • to promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia; to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another's problems
    • to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields
    • to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries
    • to strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interests
    • to cooperate with international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes.

Extending helping hand:

  • Indian Prime Minister Modi made the announcements during a video-conference with Saarc leaders that he had proposed amid rising cases of the disease in the region.
  • The Indian PM suggested that nodal experts of all SAARC states meet in a week’s time to take forward the ideas exchanged at the discussion.
  • He urged the seven nations to fight the scourge jointly.
  • The Indian government has announced various internal measures to combat the outbreak.
  • This includes closing 18 of 37 border checkposts to international traffic and suspension of all existing visas - except a few types such as UN and diplomatic - till April 15.
  • The government has also advised against non-essential travel abroad; people have been warned of a 14-day quarantine on their return.

    • The COVID-19 outbreak began in a market in China's Wuhan district in December last year.
    • The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic, meaning it has spread worldwide and affected huge number of people.
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