India proposes emergency covid-19 fund for SAARC nations
25th Mar, 2020
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.
- 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.