The Indian Army is preparing separate teams to be deployed in several South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries to help them boost their capabilities to deal with rising cases of coronavirus, according to official sources.
The sources said on Tuesday that the troops are being readied as part of India's policy of extending helping hand to all friendly countries, like- Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan, in the region to fight the pandemic, PTI reported.
A 14-member Indian Army team was sent to Maldives last month to help the island nation set up coronavirus testing laboratories and train local medical professionals.
Earlier this month, India dispatched a 15-member team of Army to Kuwait as part of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
India has also been playing a key role in pushing for a common framework in fighting the pandemic in the SAARC region.
At a video-conference on March 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for formulating a joint strategy to fight COVID-19 in the SAARC region and proposed an emergency fund with an initial offer of USD 10 million from India.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a group comprising of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
All the SAARC member nations are reeling under adverse social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of its policy to help friendly countries to deal with the pandemic, India is also supplying anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries. A number of countries including the US, Mauritius and Seychelles have already received the drug.
Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for COVID-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York.
The demand for the drug has swelled rapidly after India decided to lift a ban on its export.
In the neighbourhood, India is sending the drug to Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh Nepal, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, sources said.