Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the full potential of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation can only be realised in an atmosphere free of terrorism and violence.

“Let us re-commit ourselves to defeating the forces that support and nurture terrorism, and to work collectively towards a secure and prosperous South Asia,” Modi said in a message on the occasion of the 36th Charter Day of SAARC. The prime minister also promised that India was committed to an “integrated, connected, secure and prosperous South Asia”.

“The early coordination between Saarc countries for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic is an example of the benefit that our region can derive from greater collaboration,” Modi said. The prime minister was referring to the meeting held in March and the creation of an emergency Covid-19 fund with an initial contribution of $10 million from India.

The functioning and activities of the group of eight South Asian countries have taken a hit due to strained relations between India and Pakistan, according to the Hindustan Times. India had pulled out of a SAARC summit that was to be held in Pakistan in 2016 in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack.