India will make its potential Covid-19 vaccine available for Bangladesh on priority basis once it is produced, says Harsh Vardhan Shringla
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has called his Dhaka tour “very satisfactory.”
He wrapped up the two-day visit on Wednesday after holding a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Masud Bin Momen, during which the Covid-19 vaccine issue appeared to have largely featured.
“I have a very satisfactory visit, a very short visit,” he told reporters after the meeting at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.
Shringla arrived in the capital on Tuesday to warm up Indo-Bangla relations and met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the evening.
He said New Delhi would make their potential Covid-19 vaccine available for Bangladesh on priority basis once it was produced in partnership with its developer Oxford University, who appeared to be a major forerunner in the global race for developing the inoculation.
“When vaccine is developed, friends, partners and neighbours will get it without any saying... For us Bangladesh is always a priority,” Shringla commented.
He said India, which produces 60% of global vaccine, has now reached the stage of trying the vaccine with an objective to produce it on a massive scale.
Shringla said on Tuesday he briefed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about various measures India took to contain the Covid-19 pandemic there.
But he said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent him to Dhaka to carry forward the excellent India-Bangladesh relations even during the pandemic.
“Reason I came here is that our prime minister felt during Covid time there is not much contact, but the relationship [India-Bangladesh] must continue,” Shringla said.
He said: “We must continue to move forward towards our strong bilateral relations and I came primarily to look at that point."
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud said they also discussed measures and cooperation between Dhaka and New Delhi regarding economic recovery during and post-pandemic period.
The two secretaries discussed a possible virtual meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC), the foreign minister-level meeting between Dhaka and New Delhi.
“Maybe I will visit New Delhi before the JCC meeting to fix the agendas,” Masud said, adding both sides wanted to hold the JCC meeting in shortest possible time to advance further the Bangladesh-India relations.
Shringla's visit showed the commitment of both sides to take the relationship more forward, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Das Ganguly had told a select media group on Tuesday night.
Shringla, who was served as the Indian envoy to Bangladesh before, last visited Dhaka in March after assuming the office of the Indian foreign secretary in January this year.
According to officials, this is Shringla’s first overseas tour since the global Covid-19 pandemic started.