KATHMANDU, Feb 17: India is hosting a health secretary-level meeting virtually with member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on Thursday to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Indian media reports said on Wednesday.
Jageshwar Gautam, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, told Republica that a team of Nepali officials led by Dr Roshan Pokharel, chief specialist at the ministry, will attend the virtual meeting being hosted by India.
Pakistan, the arch-rival of India, has also been invited to attend the workshop, according to India Today online. However, it is still not clear whether Pakistan will attend it.
This is the second workshop India is hosting after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference with leaders of SAARC countries in March 2020. During the video conference, Modi had proposed a coronavirus emergency fund for the region.
This emergency fund was set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative seeks to mitigate the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic in the South Asian region with India contributing USD10 million to it.
SAARC, a regional body founded in 1985, comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.