New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday proposed to hold a conference of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member-nations to jointly fight the outbreak of novel coronavirus. All the members, including Pakistan, responded and the conference will be held at 5 PM. Also Read - Responding to PM Modi's Proposal, SAARC Leaders Promise Joint Strategy To Fight Coronavirus

The video conference will have some far-reaching impacts in this region, apart from a joint strategy to fight coronavirus. Also Read - SAARC Nations Should Come Together to Fight Coronavirus, Tweets PM Modi



1. Almost-Dead Group Comes Alive Also Read - Pakistan FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi Boycotts Jaishankar's Address at SAARC Meet, India Says Such Drama Will Not Work

SAARC, the grouping of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, was sidelined. India under PM Modi got more inclined to BIMSTEC comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. The latter does not have Pakistan on board, making it a more go-to option for India. It is significant that the group comes alive in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.



2. Coronavirus in SAARC countries

The epicentre of the novel coronavirus got shifted from Wuhan to Italy and Iran. Though all cross-country travels are under watch, it is high time that the south Asian countries took steps to contain the spread of the disease.

Here’s a country-wise break-up

CountriesNumber of cases (Approx)
Afghanistan11
Pakistan33
India100
Bangladesh5
Sri Lanka10
Bhutan1
Nepal1
Maldives10

3. India-Pakistan thaw

While PM Modi will represent India in the SAARC meet, Pakistan will not be represented by PM Imran Khan. Pakistan has deputed state minister for health Dr Zafar Mirza to represent the country. However, this is a signal of a thaw in the face of an emergency, which may not continue in future.