Foreign tourists wear protective masks at the Taj Mahal complex in Agra amid the coronavirus threat | Photo: ANI
Foreign tourists wear masks at the Taj Mahal complex in Agra amid the coronavirus threat | ANI file photo
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New Delhi: Afghanistan and Maldives Saturday said they will be contributing $1 million and $2,00,000, respectively, to the ‘SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Emergency Response Fund for COVID-19’, a day after Nepal and Bhutan announced their contributions.

“The Afghan Government has just approved a contribution of One Million USD to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund as per the discussions in SAARC heads of nations VTC, believing in joint collaboration, and strengthening partnership to fight this pandemic,” Sediq Seddiqqi, spokesperson for Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the Maldives government also said they will be contributing to the fund that has been set up to address the challenges faced by SAARC countries in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We welcome PM @narendramodi’s initiative to create an COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and its pledge of USD 10 million. Government of Maldives joins the initiative and pledge USD 200,000 to address issues emanating from COVID-19,” tweeted Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.

On Friday, Bhutan said it will be putting in $1,00,000 towards the fund, which is already operational, while Nepal Prime Minister K.P.S Oli said it will be giving Nepalese Rupee 10 crores to the common pool.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had proposed the fund during a video conference with all SAARC leaders last Sunday, tweeted thanking Maldives for the contribution.

“Deeply appreciate contribution of USD 200,000 by Government of Maldives to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. It strengthens our resolve in this collective fight against the pandemic,” Modi wrote.


Also read: Indian economy faces bigger risk from coronavirus because it is informal


Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka yet to make contributions

Dammu Ravi, Additional Secretary and Coordinator (COVID-19), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), has said the SAARC COVID-19 fund is already operational and India, which has pledged $10 million to the fund, has already disbursed $1 million out of that.

So far, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have not yet made any announcement on their contribution.

Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson, MEA, had earlier announced that the ministry has set up a COVID-19 Control Centre, functioning 24×7 from the South Block.

The telephone numbers of the Control Room are 1800118797 (toll free), +91-11-23012113, +91-11-23014104 and +91-11-23017905, fax number – +91-11-23018158 and email id: covid19@mea.gov.in.


Also read: US, China rivalry spills over into India’s neighbourbood in the form of coronavirus aid


 

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