Connecting Regions of Asia.

Be On Same Page With Govt : Jai To Envoys


External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called up India’s envoys in key missions and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla held a teleconference with senior officials from the US, Australia, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Japan over the last two days on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sources said Jaishankar’s phone calls to Indian envoys is to make sure that they are on the “same page” with the South Block, as the situation is “fast evolving”, with more confirmed coronavirus cases around the world and in India.

This comes even as the SAARC emergency fund on coronavirus has been activated and contributions are pouring in from other SAARC countries. India had started the fund with a $10 million voluntary contribution, and Bhutan, Afghanistan and Maldives have contributed.

Shringla participated in the telephonic conference call initiated by US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun for discussions among some countries in the Indo-Pacific region on issues related to countering COVID-19. The teleconference included senior representatives from Australia, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand and Japan.

“The participants shared their assessments of the current situation with respect to COVID-19, and discussed ways to synergise their efforts to counter its spread,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

Shringla briefed the participants on steps taken by India—both nationally and in the region—and conveyed its desire to share its perspectives with partners in the region and to work together with others to counter this challenge. The participants are expected to continue the conference call on a weekly basis.

Health ministry officials had separately participated in a video conference call with the Chinese government as well. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had engaged with SAARC leaders last Sunday. Modi on Saturday thanked the Maldives for contributing to the COVID-19 emergency fund to tackle the spread of the virus in SAARC countries.

Courtesy –

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