India to host SAARC Virtual Meet

India is all set to host the virtual health secretary-level meeting with the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The virtual meeting will be held on February 18, 2021. During the meeting the members will discuss the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Pakistan has also been invited to attend the meeting.

Highlights

  • The virtual meeting will discuss the challenges and development associated with the COVID-19 management and response to the pandemic.
  • The members will exchange the best practices with respect to the ongoing pandemic.

Background

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also proposed a Coronavirus Emergency Fund COVID-19 crisis. for the SAARC region in March 2020 during a video conference of the SAARC Heads of State.

Coronavirus Emergency Fund

  • The Coronavirus Emergency Fund was set up by the SAARC members in order to response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The emergency fund was created with the aim of mitigating the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in the South Asian region.
  • India had proposed to contribute USD10 million for the fund.
  • Other member countries of the SAARC also supported this move of creating the fund proposed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India’s Support to the neighbors

India was and is still at the forefront in the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. India has also emerged as the country with the highest number of vaccinations. So, India is also at the forefront in providing the indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccines to the countries either as gift or on commercial line.  India has recently gifted five lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Afghanistan, 20 lakh doses to Bangladesh, 17 lakh doses to Myanmar, Five lakh doses to Sri Lanka, 1.5 lakh doses to Bhutan, one lakh doses to each of Mauritius & Maldives, ten lakh doses to Nepal and fifty thousand doses to Seychelles.

About SAARC

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) grouping comprises of the countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It was founded on December 8, 1985. It is headquartered at Kathmandu, Nepal. It comprises of 3% of world’s area.

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