India Responds To Pakistan’s PledgesOf $3M For SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Funds

Pakistan on Thursday pledged to provide $3 million in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Covid-19 Emergency Fund to support regional efforts in the fight against the global pandemic.

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“While communicating Pakistan’s decision to the SAARC Secretariat, it has been communicated that all proceeds of the fund should be administered by the SAARC Secretariat and that the modalities for the fund’s utilization should be finalized through consultations with the member states as per the SAARC Charter,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on Thursday.

India today responded to Islamabad’s conditional decision to pledge $3 million to the SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund by saying each member of the grouping is free to decide the manner and implementation of its commitment.

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Pakistan was the last of SAARC’s member nations to commit the fund, which was created with an initial corpus of $10 million from New Delhi after a video conference of leaders of the regional association on March 15. Pakistan also suggested that the contribution be used in accordance with the SAARC Charter.

Responding to Pakistan’s pledge, the newly appointed Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “It is for each SAARC member state to decide on the timing, manner, and implementation of their SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund commitments.”

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Srivastava added, “Where India is concerned, the commitment made by the prime minister is today in an advanced stage of implementation. Assistance in material and services has been extended to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.”

The other members of SAARC have also “made early commitments to the Fund” and the “degree of seriousness of each nation can be gauged by their behavior”, Srivastava said.