Prime Minister Modi’s suggestion for the use of the SAARC platform to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic has been welcomed by the member nations.
Background of SAARC
The idea for the establishment of SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation) was proposed in 1980. The focus areas of the international grouping were decided upon by the foreign secretaries of the 7 founding members in 1981. The grouping itself was established in 1985 with the seven members.
The SAARC currently has 8 members: Afghanistan (latest member) and the 7 founding members: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The observer states are EU, Australia, Japan, China, Iran, USA, Mauritius and Korea. The secretariat is located in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Prime Minister had proposed the cooperation among the SAARC members to tackle the increasing number of cases. The leaders of the member states are to meet via video conferencing to chalk out a strategy. This is a significant move as the SAARC has largely remained inactive since the 2016 Uri attack.