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SAARC leaders for joint strategy to fight against Coronavirus

New Delhi, Mar 15 (GCCurrentAffairs) Leading fight against Novel Coronavirus outbreak and chalking out a strategy to prevent further spread of the infectious viral disease, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday interacted with India’s neighbours via video-conferencing with an aim to pool together efforts in containing the pandemic.
With the Coronavirus claiming about 5,000 lives across the globe and infecting nearly 1.5 lakh people, Prime Minister Modi’s initiative calling upon the SAARC leaders to interact via video-conferencing found prompt and ready support and his appeal for coordinated action drew instant approval and response from Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. On behalf of Pakistan, Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan is participating in the video-conference.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Modi said: “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 said that India made special efforts to reach out to vulnerable groups and worked to quickly ramp up capacity in the system including through training medical staff across the country.
“We started screening entry into India from mid-January itself, while also gradually increasing restrictions on travel. ​The step-by-step approach has helped avoid panic. Our people-to-people ties are ancient and our societies are deeply interconnected. Therefore, we must all prepare together, act together and succeed together,’ he said.
Mr Modi said India also responded to the call of its people abroad and evacuated nearly 1400 Indians from different countries as well as helped some of the citizens of neighborhood countries.
President Gotabaya said Sri Lanka emphasizes on the need for South Asia to share ideas and best practices in order to face up to the challenge of the rapid spread of the virus. He said that Sri Lankan economy has taken a serious blow, particularly tourism sector which was just recovering after last years’ terrorist attack. “I strongly recommend SAARC leaders to formulate mechanism to assist our economies to tide over difficult period,’ Mr Gotabaya said.
Maldives President thanked Prime Minister Modi for his regional initiative to combat the COVID-19 challenge while President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani shared his views on the “unknown territory” the world now finds itself in and need for a common cooperative framework. He said since India is both a very important member of SAARC and a member of Shanghai Cooperation, it can coordinate between SAARC and Shanghai Cooperation and share how much experience of China is replicable to the present situation.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina favoured continuation of this dialogue at technical level, with Health Ministers, Health Secretaries and health experts also holding this kind of video conferences to discuss specific areas of cooperation.
She also thanked Prime Minister Modi for taking this initiative. “I also thank him for bringing and hosting 23 of our students from Wuhan in China along with Indian students.’

Source
Via UNI-India

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