India has come up with a number of offers for Saarc countries to jointly deal with the coronavirus in the region.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the offers while sharing his thoughts on coronavirus situation in Saarc countries and beyond in a videoconference with the other Saarc leaders on Sunday.
• Creation of a COVID-19 Emergency Fund, based on voluntary contributions. India pledged US$10 million as a start. The aim is to help any of Saarc nations meet the cost of emergent actions to combat this pandemic.
• Foreign Secretaries to finalise concept and operational rules, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
• Indian Rapid Response Teams, of doctors, specialists and testing equipment, who are already on standby.
• Online training capsules for emergency response staff, for all Saarc countries, using the model India used to raise capacity of emergency staff across India.
• A review videoconference of doctors and medical professionals, in one week to ten days, to consider specific measures and best practices in Saarc states.
• A review videoconference of trade officials to consider the impact of travel restrictions on intra-regional trade within Saarc, recognising the high level of inter-dependence of several of our economies.
• Help prepare a website with informational material in all Saarc languages.
• Sharing software in their own Integrated Health Information Platform for Disease Surveillance, and training to use this MIS system, for all SAARC partners.
• Use of the Saarc Disaster Management Centre to identify and popularise best practices in fighting Covid-19.
• For the future: proposed creating a Research Platform for all Saarc states to share ideas and proposals for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for diseases and epidemics.
Indian Council of Medical Research will help coordinate this.