Pakistan pledged US$3 million to the SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund with the condition that all proceeds of the fund should be administered by the SAARC Secretariat. However, India on Friday said it is for each SAARC member to decide on the timing, manner and implementation of their SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund commitments.
Since the emergency fund was initiated by India last month, Pakistan on Thursday said that “all proceeds of the fund should be administered by the SAARC Secretariat and that the [means] for the Fund’s utilisation should be finalised through consultations with the Member States as per the SAARC Charter”.
India's External Affairs Ministry, clarifying its stance, said: “Where India is concerned, the commitment made by the Prime Minister is in an advanced stage of implementation. Assistance in material and services has been extended to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.”
While India has pledged $10 million USD, Sri Lanka has contributed $5 million, Bangladesh announced $1.5 million and Afghanistan and Nepal gave $1 million each. The Maldives and Bhutan have donated $200,000 and $100,000 respectively.
Pakistan has continued to express its discontent over India’s role in SAARC as it boycotted a teleconference convention of commerce officers from the SAARC international lo.cations on Wednesday, saying “such conferences might solely be efficient if spearheaded by the group’s secretariat as a substitute of India”.
The dialogue among SAARC nations resumed in March after India's Prime Minister called for a videoconference among the members against the backdrop of the COVID-19 outbreak. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan had not joined the videoconference and Pakistan’s health minister attended the meet on his behalf.