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India-Pak Tension Amidst Covid-19

  • 11 Apr 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, India has said that the degree of seriousness of each South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member-nation in collectively fighting the Covid-19pandemic can be gauged by their behaviour.

  • The statement is in clear reference to Pakistan’s opposition to India’s leadership in dealing with the crisis in the region.

Key Points

  • Pakistan has pledged to contribute $3 million to SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund.
  • Pakistan has also demanded that any initiative to deal with the situation must be brought under SAARC’s framework and utilised in accordance with the SAARC charter.
  • Pakistan also boycotted a video conference of trade officials of the SAARC members.
    • It has said that these initiatives would only be effective if these are headed by the group’s secretariat and not by India.
  • India has maintained that such initiatives (formation of emergency fund) are taken under extraordinary circumstances which are focused on jointly fighting an issue or problem without the limitations of procedural formalities.
    • Each member nation has the right to decide on the timing, manner and implementation of their SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund commitments.

India’s Role

  • India has taken the lead role in taking preventive measures against the novel coronavirus crisis in the region.
  • In March, India proposed an Covid-19 Emergency Fund in the video conference of SAARC members on forming a joint strategy to fight Covid-19.
    • The Fund would be based on a voluntary contribution from all SAARC members.
    • Indian Prime Minister contributed $10 million to the fund.
    • Following Indian lead ,subsequently, Nepal and Afghanistan ($1 million each), Maldives ($200,000), Bhutan ($100,000), Bangladesh ($1.5 million) and Sri Lanka ($5 million) also pledged to contribute to the fund.
    • The fund is used to meet the cost of immediate actions by any member and will be coordinated through foreign secretaries and embassies of the member countries.
  • India has also extended assistance in materials and services to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives (Operation Sanjeevani), Nepal and Sri Lanka keeping in mind their early commitments to the fund and serious behaviour.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

  • It was established on 8th December 1985 with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka (Bangladesh).
  • It has 8 members: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
    • Afghanistan became its newest member at the 13th annual summit in 2005
  • The Headquarters and Secretariat are at Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • Principles:
    • Respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and mutual benefit.
    • Such cooperation shall not be a substitute for bilateral and multilateral cooperation but shall complement them.
    • Such cooperation shall not be inconsistent with bilateral and multilateral obligations.

Source: IE

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