India to provide immediate visa for patients from SAARC: PM

Kathmandu: Pledging to extend all possible cooperation to SAARC countries in diverse fields, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that India will provide immediate medical visa for the patient and an attendant for treatment in the country.

In his address at the 18th SAARC summit here, Modi also said that India will now give business visa for 3-5 years for SAARC nations.Identifying health as a major sector for cooperation among the member countries, Modi said India will support monitoring and urveillance of polio-free countries, and provide vaccines where it might reappear.

 India to provide immediate visa for patients from SAARC: PM
Narendra Modi

"In the area of health, India will meet the shortfall in funds to establish the SAARC Regional Supra Reference Laboratory for TB and HIV. We offer the five-in-one vaccine for the children of South Asia," he said. Seeking better environment for trade among the SAARCnations, Modi said, "India will now give business visa for 3-5 years for SAARC. Let's make it even easier for our businesses through a SAARC Business Traveller Card."

Modi said information technology has removed all barriers to quality education and India was prepared to connect the South Asian students through online course and E-libraries. "When we set up India's National Knowledge Network, we will be happy to extend it to the SAARC region.

"The dream of a South Asian University has become a reality in New Delhi. But, to be truly South Asian, it must also have partnerships with at least one university in each SAARC country," he said.

During the course of his 30-minute speech, Modi also referred to India's "gift" of a satellite for the SAARC region and said it will benefit the countries in areas like education, telemedicine, disaster response, resource management, weather forecasting and communication.

"We will also host a conference in India for all South Asian partners next year, to strengthen our collective ability to apply space technology in economic development and governance. And, we plan to launch our satellite by the SAARC Day in 2016," he said.

"As neighbours, we should also be together in good and bad times," he said. The Prime Minister also offered India's capability and expertise in disaster management saying it will always be available to South Asia. "A prosperous SAARC needs the strong foundation of a secure South Asia. If we are sensitive to each other's security, and the lives of our people, we will deepen friendships, spur cooperation and advance stability in our region," he said.

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