India’s prime minister stressed on Thursday the need to set up a regional forum to address the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to a virtual international workshop titled COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward, Narendra Modi suggested the development of a regional network to facilitate technology-assisted epidemiology to avoid future pandemics.
Representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka attended the workshop.
“Can we consider creating a special visa scheme for our doctors and nurses so that they can travel quickly within our region during health emergencies, at the request of the receiving country,” Modi asked.
“The spirit of collaboration is a valuable takeaway from this pandemic,” he said, claiming: “Through our openness and determination, we have managed to achieve one of the lowest fatality rates in the world.”
“The hopes of our region and the world are focused on rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit,” said Modi.
“If the 21st Century is to be the Asian Century, it cannot be without greater integration among the countries of South Asia and the Indian Ocean island countries. The spirit of regional solidarity that you have shown during the pandemic has proven that such integration is possible,” he added.