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Home / India News / SAARC coronavirus video meet: Afghanistan seeks Indian satellite for distance learning to contain infection

SAARC coronavirus video meet: Afghanistan seeks Indian satellite for distance learning to contain infection

Ghani said Afghanistan was in an unknown territory and its vulnerability came from the open borders with Iran which is severely-hit by the disease that has taken close to 5.5 thousand lives globally including over 700 in Iran.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2020 18:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
SAARC coronavirus video conference:
SAARC coronavirus video conference:

The Saarc videoconference for thrashing out a joint strategy to combat coronavirus disease on Sunday evening saw the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani propose a common framework for telemedicine and a mechanism to ensure the flow of essential goods between the member countries among other things.

Ghani said Afghanistan was in an unknown territory and its vulnerability came from the open borders with Iran which is severely-hit by the disease that has taken close to 5.5 thousand lives globally including over 700 in Iran.

Ghani said Afghanistan needed to learn from India how to upscale its health programme and also requested India for making a satellite available for teaching Afghan youth and women to keep them occupied and ensure social distancing to prevent spread of the infection.

Also read | PM Modi participates in SAARC video conference to formulate joint strategy to combat coronavirus

Here are the five proposals made by the Afghanistan president.

1. Ghani said modeling of the diffusion (of coronavirus) and related scenarios was important for the effective adoption of techniques to combat the virus in the region.

“Unless we model the diffusion, we will be facing assumptions from China and the United States or Iran, which are not suitable for our situation. I request a taskforce of Saarc to be able to do this for this purpose,” he said.

2. Ghani requested for creation of a common framework for “telemedicine for diagnosis of related issues and as advances (of disease) take place, how to be able to coordinate (among members).”

3. He said Afghanistan was a landlocked country and closing of borders presents challenges on the movement of essential items including medicine and food. He requested for “coordinate (d) flows that allow transactions to take place focusing on the essentials.”

4. In his fourth proposal, he requested services of an “Indian satellite to be made available for distance education of Afghani youth and women to ensure necessary social distancing”.

He also requested coordination “between Saarc and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) with India’s initiative to ascertain how much of China’s experience is replicable in our (Saarc) situation and how we both learn and help.

Also read | ‘Prepare but do not panic’: PM Modi conveys India’s message on coronavirus to SAARC nations