Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed South Asian nations to chalk out a joint strategy to fight coronavirus.
All countries, including Pakistan, responded positively to the offer proposed by Modi. After midnight, the Pakistan foreign office responded that Islamabad will participate.
At 1.17 pm, Modi posted through his Twitter account that with a significant number of the global population in the region, one “should leave no stone unturned to ensure our people are healthy” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The next tweet led to raised eyebrows in South Asian capitals. “I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight Coronavirus,” he posted.
Modi suggested that there could be a discussion through “video conferencing” on his proposal. “Together, we can set an example to the world, and contribute to a healthier planet”.
The reason that there was a ripple of surprise in India is because “SAARC” has not exactly figured in the Indian PM’s vocabulary in recent years.
A quick search for the term SAARC on the Indian PM’s two official Twitter accounts showed that he spoke about the regional association just once last year, reported TheWire.
There was no mention of SAARC on his social media accounts in 2018 or 2017. In 2016, there were five tweets with a mention of the grouping, with seven in 2015. In 2014, there were 27 tweets from Modi’s accounts that mentioned SAARC.