New Delhi: India has proposed setting up of a common electronic platform for all SAARC nations to share expertise and best practices to jointly combat the spread of coronavirus, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly pitched for a regional approach to deal with the pandemic.

India made the proposal at a video conference of senior health officials of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on Thursday.

The SAARC is a regional grouping comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

At an India-initiated video conference of SAARC leaders on March 15, Modi suggested that health professionals of the member nations could come together to jointly fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“India proposed a shared electronic platform for all SAARC nations to share and exchange information, knowledge, expertise and best practices for jointly combating the coronavirus epidemic,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

It was informed that considerable work has already gone into the creation of the platform, which could also serve as a multipurpose vehicle to further discuss and conduct activities such as online training for emergency response personnel, the MEA said.

The Indian side proposed that till the electronic platform is fully operational, a network of experts representing the health services of all SAARC countries may set up on email/whatsapp to enable exchange of all relevant information on real time basis.

All the SAARC member nations are reeling under the coronavirus pandemic.

Globally, the pandemic has killed over 21,000 people and infected close to 5,00,000.

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