Several SAARC countries accept PM Modi’s invitation

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih meeting with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. (Photo/President's Office)

The leaders of several SAARC countries have accepted an invitation by the Prime Minister of India to discuss a joint strategy against the Covid-19 via teleconferencing.

“Our planet is battling the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. At various levels, governments and people are trying their best to combat it,” PM Modi said on Twitter.

South Asia, which is home to a significant number of the global population, should leave no stone unturned to ensure that the people are healthy, PM Modi said.

“I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight coronavirus. We could discuss, via video conferencing, ways to keep our citizens healthy,” he said.

“Together, we can set an example to the world, and contribute to a healthier planet,” Modi said.

Responding to the invitation, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of Maldives thanked PM Modi for taking the initiative and noted the collective effort needed to defeat the virus.

“The Maldives welcomes this proposal and would fully support such a regional effort.” wrote the president on Twitter.

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa also thanked PM Modi for the initiative before stating that his country was ready to join the discussion share knowledge best practices.

“Let’s unite in solidarity during these trying times and keep our citizens safe,” wrote the Sri Lankan president on Twitter.

Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan also tweeted in support of the proposal and hailed the Indian PM’s leadership in the matter.

“This is what we call leadership. As members of this region, we must come together in such times. Smaller economies are hit harder, so we must coordinate,”

“With your leadership, I have no doubt we will see the immediate and impactful outcome.” the PM of Bhutan stated on Twitter.

Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli also accepted the invitation and said that the government of Nepal was ready to work closely with the SAARC Member States to protect citizens from the deadly disease now declared as a global pandemic.

India has had the highest number of confirmed cases of the disease with 75 and has also reported one death. Three people have also recovered after contracting the disease in India.

Covid-19 statistics in SAARC countries

  • Maldives: 8 confirmed cases
  • India: 75 confirmed cases
  • Pakistan: 20 confirmed cases
  • Afghanistan: 5 confirmed cases
  • Bangladesh: 3 confirmed cases
  • Nepal: 1 confirmed case
  • Bhutan: 1 confirmed case