India to set up electronic platform for SAARC to fight COVID-19

It will help in the exchange of information, knowledge and expertise, says MEA

March 27, 2020 10:14 am | Updated December 03, 2021 06:39 am IST - NEW DELHI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders on chalking out a plan to combat the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus, in New Delhi.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders on chalking out a plan to combat the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus, in New Delhi.

India will set up an electronic platform to help member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) fight the COVID-19 pandemic . The decision was conveyed to health professionals of the SAARC countries during a video conference on Thursday which was conducted as decided during the March 15 virtual summit of SAARC leaders.

“India proposed a shared electronic platform for all SAARC nations to share and exchange information, knowledge, expertise and best practices for jointly combating the coronavirus epidemic,” a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs announced.

Also read | Editorial | Back to SAARC: On Modi's video conference with leaders

The video conference lasted two hours, in which all the member countries of SAARC participated. “India has taken the regional initiative, and we are helping each other across land and maritime border, from providing medicines to testing protocols and protective gear (PPE),” a source familiar with the video conference said.

Indian participants in the discussion suggested that a Whatsapp or email group could be started to help facilitate exchange of information among the SAARC countries till the platform became fully operational. It was conveyed that the platform was currently under production in India.

The plan for the electronic platform was the first step by India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced $10 million for the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund. The fund has so far collected $15 million after Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also came forward with contributions for the initiative.

Also read | Comment | Will Modi’s COVID-19 fund initiative revive SAARC?

The electronic platform proposed on Thursday is expected to help in training of emergency personnel, disease surveillance and joint research, the Ministry of External Affairs informed.

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