Afghanistan and Maldives on Saturday pledged to contribute USD 1.2 million to the SAARC Corona Emergency Fund proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an initial offer of USD 10 million from India to help combat the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic in the region.
Spokesperson for the President of Afghanistan Sediq Sediqqi said the Afghan government believed in joint collaboration and strengthening partnership to fight the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic.
The Afghan Government has just approved a contribution of One Million USD to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund as per the discussions in SAARC heads of nations VTC, believing in joint collaboration, and strengthening partnership to fight this pandemic, Sediqqi said in a tweet.
Earlier while welcoming Prime Minister Modi for creating the emergency and relief fund, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said the country will join the initiative to tackle the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We welcome PM @narendramodi's initiative to create an COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and its pledge of USD 10million. Government of Maldives joins the initiative and pledge USD 200,000 to address issues emanating from COVID-19," Shahid said in a tweet.
Nepal and Bhutan on Friday pledged nearly USD one million and USD 100,000 respectively to the SAARC Corona Emergency Fund.
Modi, later, took to Twitter to thank leaders of the two countries for their contribution.
"Gratitude to @PMBhutan Dr Lotay Tshering for his decision to contribute $100,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund on behalf of the Bhutanese Government." he tweeted.
"Deeply appreciate PM @kpsharmaoli's announcement of contribution of NPR 10 crores to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. It reflects Oli Ji's commitment and support to the collective fight of SAARC countries against the pandemic," he said.
Modi said it was wonderful to see SAARC leaders taking initiatives that are adding strength to the collective fight against coronavirus.
In a video conference on forming a joint strategy to fight COVID-19 in the SAARC region, Prime Minister Modi on March 15 proposed the emergency fund with an initial offer of USD 10 million from India and asserted that the best way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic was by coming together, and not growing apart.
The statement said the video conference initiated by Modi "created a platform for the leaders to share experiences on combatting the pandemic in respective countries and chart out collective strategy to combat the threat of COVID-19".
Founded in 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation and geopolitical union of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Apart from Modi, Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepalese Prime Minister Oli, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Special Assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza, participated in the conference.
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