Bangladesh will be among the first countries to receive vaccines from India

India will send a consignment containing 20 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines to Dhaka on Thursday.

Bangladesh is one of the first countries to receive vaccines from India, reflective of India’s strong commitment to “Neighbourhood First” policy and Bangladesh’s special place in it.

The vaccine delivery is termed as a “gift from the people of India to the people of Bangladesh”.

It is also the fulfillment of the assurance given by Prime Minister Modi to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the December 17 virtual summit. It is a reflection of the strong, vibrant and friendly bilateral ties between the two countries.

The vaccines supplied are manufactured by Serum Institute of India. The relevance of an “Atmanirbhar Bharat” is reiterated through this timely delivery of “Made in India” vaccines.

As PM Modi said, “In India’s self-reliance, there is a concern for the whole world’s happiness, cooperation and peace.”

Both countries have been cooperating in the field of COVID-19 vaccine, including Phase-III testing, distribution, co-production and delivery in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh was the first country to receive a joint delegation consisting of officials from Department of Bio Technology (DBT) as well as vaccine manufacturers, to discuss cooperation relating to COVID vaccine.

A delegation led by DBT had visited Bangladesh in October 2020. Separately, there has been commercial cooperation between Bangladesh public and private sectors and our private sector on vaccine supply.

India has also provided three tranches of aid to Bangladesh; 30,000 surgical masks and 15000 headcovers was given in the first tranche, while 50,000 gloves & 100,000 HCQ tablets and 30,000 RT-PCR test kits were given in second and third tranches.

Six online courses have been conducted of which one was conducted exclusively in Bangla language. In total, 352 Bangladeshi professionals have been trained in these courses.

Apart from these aspects directly related to COVID, both sides also worked together to ensure smooth and uninterrupted supply of essential goods during the COVID-19 lock-down by commencing the container as well as parcel train services in July 2020.

In addition, New Delhi facilitated the repatriation of more than 5500 Bangladeshi nationals from India during the lockdown period, using road and air. India had also facilitated repatriation of Bangladesh students from Wuhan to Bangladesh.

In order to facilitate resumption of flight operations that were disrupted due to COVID pandemic, an air travel bubble was established between both sides in October 2020. This allowed for 56 flights per week between both sides, connecting Indian cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai with Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh. This has helped essential travel particularly of those requiring medical attention.