KATHMANDU, March 15: Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, despite recuperating from kidney transplant surgery, is taking part in a meeting of SAARC leaders via video conferencing on Sunday.
The prime minister’s press advisor Surya Thapa confirmed that the meeting has been scheduled for 5 pm Sunday.
“Prime Minister himself will attend the video conference meeting,” he told Republica.
Prime Minister Oli was discharged from Maharajgunj-based Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital hospital after kidney transplant on Friday evening after 12 days in hospital. Although he is still recovering from the transplant surgery, Oli on Saturday held brief meetings with his party’s Co-Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Nepal and his advisors.
The meeting among SAARC leaders via video conference comes a day after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed that the leaders of SAARC nations to chalk out a strategy to fight the coronavirus. In response, Prime Minister Oli had said that he welcomes the idea of chalking out strong strategy to fight against the threats of coronavirus.
All other SAARC nations including Pakistan have supported the idea and expressed readiness to join any initiative taken to make collective effort against the pandemic.
Although it is expected that the head of the government of all SAARC nations will join the video conference, it is still not clear who will represent the video conference meeting from Pakistan as Pakistani Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson said Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to depute his special advisor on health to join the meeting.
Modi’s call for adopting joint strategies to overcome the threat of COVID-19 has been widely described as India’s changed stance toward the SAARC which has been rendered almost defunct due to hostility between India and Pakistan.
But with the proposal of Indian Prime Minister Modi to make collective response to COVID-19 threat, there are high hopes that this regional forum could get a new lease of life.