India calls upon SAARC members to resolve to defeat scourge of terrorism

New Delhi, Sep 24 (UNI) In a sharp criticism to Pakistan, India on Thursday called upon SAARC member states to collectively resolve to defeat the scourge of terrorism, including the forces that nurture, support and encourage an environment of terror and conflict.
Chaired by Nepal, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar participated in the annual Informal Meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers through video conference.
Dr Jaishankar reaffirmed India’s commitment to its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and towards building a connected, integrated and prosperous South Asia.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was among the participants of the meeting which was organised in continuation of a tradition of informal exchanges among the foreign ministers of the grouping on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The meeting received a report from the Secretary-General on the status of regional cooperation since the last informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers in New York on 26th September 2019.
The meeting also reviewed regional efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
In particular, participants appreciated the leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in convening a video conference of SAARC Leaders on March 15 to take collaborative measures towards combating the pandemic across the region, the ministry of external affairs said.
This included the creation of SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund, to which all countries have pledged voluntary contributions.
Dr Jaishankar informed that under India’s contribution to SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund, supply of essential drugs, medical consumables, COVID protection and testing kits, and other equipment, amounting USD 2.3 million, were made available to countries in the SAARC region.
He reiterated India’s continued commitment to assisting countries in the SAARC region in combating COVID-19 pandemic.
The Informal meetings, held since 1997, take advantage of the opportunity provided by the presence of the Foreign Ministers at UNGA sessions to exchange views on SAARC issues.


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