SAARC leaders to discuss strategy to fight COVID-19

KATHMANDU: Top leaders of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) will discuss strategies to fight COVID-19 in the region on Sunday at a video conference.

The video conference will be held at 5:00pm, according to Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs of India.

While heads of governments of seven member-states will lead their respective countries at the conference, Pakistan government has delegated the authority to the Prime Minister's Special Assistant.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on March 13, called for the leaders of SAARC nations to put up a united front to fight Coronavirus, discussing matters via video-conference, thus setting an example to the world.

In response, leaders of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka backed his proposal and expressed willingness to jointly address the issue on the same day.

Later, around midnight, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Aisha Farooqui stated that Pakistan will be available to participate in the SAARC video-conference discussing the issue.

Diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan have affected interactions between the SAARC member nations for long.

The 19th SAARC which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan in 2016 got cancelled after India blamed Pakistan for its involvement in the terrorist attack at an army camp in Uri, India.