"I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight coronavirus"
Pakistan responded positively to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi 's proposal of calling the leaders of South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries via video conferencing to discuss how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
"I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight coronavirus," in a series of tweets Modi said, reported The Tribune.
Responding to the proposal, Aisha Farooqui, the spokesperson for the Pakistan foreign office, acknowledged that the threat of COVID-19 required coordinated efforts at global and regional level, The Express Tribune reported.
"We have communicated that SAPM on Health [Dr Zafar Mirza] will be available to participate in the video conference of SAARC member countries on the issue," she tweeted.
It is not clear how India would respond to Pakistan's offer since Modi called the conference at leadership level. But nevertheless the development is seen as significant as the two neighbours have little or no channels of communication for over a year now.
On Thursday, the FO spokesperson said Pakistan was ready to cooperate and extend any assistance to its neighbours including India to deal with the coronavirus. The number of coronavirus in Pakistan and India is low but there is a threat of rise in the infected people. India already confirmed that two people died because of coronavirus while number of cases in Pakistan rose to 28, though, no death has been reported yet.
Meanwhile, Modi's refocus on SAARC is seen as departure from his four year old policy where he tried to ignore the regional grouping comprising Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal and Afghanistan.
The primary reason for Modi's approach was to isolate Pakistan in the region. It was because of this reason that Pakistan could not hold SAARC summit due in November 2016.
Relationship between Pakistan and India continued to deteriorate in recent years particularly after Pulwama attack in February last year and abrogation of special status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.