PM's initiative to host SAARC conference on coronavirus will lead to better results, says Mahesh Sharma

New Delhi [India], Mar 16 (ANI): After Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to "remain more vigilant" amid the coronavirus outbreak, BJP leader Mahesh Sharma said that there was a need for such an initiative and asserted that it will lead to better results.

"This disease is not of a country or of a region. The whole world is like a global village. I am confident that with this initiative taken by the Prime Minister, the results will also come...There was a need for such an initiative," Sharma told ANI here.

Modi proposed the creation of a COVID-19 emergency fund based on voluntary contributions from all the countries, with India making an initial offer of USD 10 million for the fund during his interaction with the leaders of the SAARC countries through video conference on Sunday.

The Prime Minister held a video conference with the leaders of SAARC member countries to exchange their views in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

"Every system has financial requirements. The economy of the whole world is somehow getting affected due to coronavirus. There are big countries and small countries. For them, there is a need for an international fund. He (the Prime Minister ) has also assured the Chief Ministers of all the states that the central government is standing with them and there will be no shortage of funds," Sharma said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement said, "In the spirit of collaboration, Prime Minister Modi proposed the creation of a COVID-19 Emergency Fund based on voluntary contributions from all the countries, with India making an initial offer of USD10 million for the fund. The fund can be used by any of the partner countries to meet the cost of immediate actions."

"He (The Prime Minister) informed that India is assembling a rapid response team of doctors and specialists, along with testing kits and other equipment, which will be on stand-by, to be placed at the disposal of the countries, if required," the statement added.

According to the MEA, the Prime Minister also offered arranging for online training capsules for the emergency response teams of the neighbouring countries and sharing of the software behind India's Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal to help trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted. (ANI)