India slams Pakistan for raising Kashmir issue during SAARC conference
New Delhi : SAARC nations on Sunday met via a video conference to discuss the ways to fight against coronavirus as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed an emergency fund with an initial offer of USD 10 million from India.
While, all other nations worked on making a joint effort to stand against coronavirus, Pakistan used the opportunity to raise Kashmir issue, calling for the immediate lifting of the "lockdown" there to allow disease containment measures.
Government sources said Pakistan's attempt to "politicise" a humanitarian issue by its "unwarranted" statement on Kashmir during the video conference on coronavirus reflected "very poorly" on it.
Apart from PM Modi, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Bhutanese premier Lotay Tshering, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Special Assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza, participated in the video conference.
While addressing the video conference, PM Narendra Modi said India's mantra to fight against coronavirus is "prepare, but don't panic".
"We were careful to not underestimate the problem, but also to avoid knee-jerk reactions," he said.
Mirza, in his remarks, also hailed China for its efforts to deal with coronavirus and urged other SAARC nations to learn best practices from it.
Raising Kashmir, he said, "Equity in health is a fundamental principle of public health. In this regard, let me say that it is a matter of concern that COVID-19 has been reported from Jammu and Kashmir. In view of the health emergency, it is imperative that all lockdown" there must be lifted immediately, he said.