12:03 GMT09 April 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): After cancelling the last annual summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 2016, Prime Minister Modi has now proposed resuming talks between the SAARC nations – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    Four years after abandoning the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave a call to SAARC nations to come together amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    ​“Our planet is battling the COVID 19 Novel Corona virus. At various levels, governments and people are trying their best to combat it. South Asia, which is home to a significant number of the global population, should leave no stone unturned to ensure our people are healthy", PM Modi said in a series of tweets.

    The National Security Council of Pakistan will be conducting a meeting to decide whether they should resume talks with India via video-conference or not. Sources in Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry are suggesting a positive outcome to Prime Minister Modi’s proposal.

    Following terror attacks by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed on Indian security forces in Nagrota, Pathankot, and Jammu in 2016, India boycotted the SAARC summit in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.

    While Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives snubbed the SAARC summit along with India, in the following years they have been reiterating the importance of resuming talks among the SAARC nations, including Pakistan.

    The SAARC, comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, was founded in 1985.

    India has recorded 75 confirmed cases of coronavirus and one death. 4,600 people have died due to the virus and over 125,000 people have been infected worldwide.


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