Hours after the Covid-19 vaccine arrival in Dhaka, Indian High Commissioner Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has handed over 20 lakh doses as a gift to Bangladesh from the people of India.
In a programme at state guest house Padma today, the Indian High Commissioner handed over the first box of the vaccine to Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
Addressing the gathering at the gifting ceremony, High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami said that in line with the discussions held during the virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, India has delivered the vaccines within a week of the vaccine roll-out in India (which had begun on 16 January).
Doraiswami said, "This is a gift to our neighbour as a complement. India and Bangladesh will work together against the disease."
He said that as part of the neighborhood first policy, India accords high priority to India- Bangladesh relationship. The bilateral relations will be strengthened further.
The high commissioner further said that 21 January is a landmark day as the arrival of the vaccines – for the very first time in Bangladesh will support Bangladesh's own efforts against Covid-19. India, as a committed partner of Bangladesh is delighted to have been able to contribute to this historic moment.
During a conference of SAARC leaders for combating Covid-19, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for collaboration through utilisation of collective capacity, expertise and resources. The SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund was setup soon after.
Healthcare professionals, administrators, etc from Bangladesh have also participated in online capacity building courses conducted by premier medical institutes in India such as ll India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
High Commissioner recalled that the Bangla-language course on Covid19 organized by AIIMS, Bhubaneswar especially for healthcare professionals from Bangladesh was a resounding success. A 2-day online "Train the Trainer" course was also conducted by the Government of India on 19-20 January 2021 to facilitate the vaccine roll-out.
The consignment which consists of Covishield vaccine (the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine) has been manufactured in Pune, India by Serum Institute and purchased by Government of India from its own quota for gifting purposes.
Earlier in the day, a consignment of 20 lakh doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, gifted by India, arrived at Dhaka Airport by air cargo around 11:20am.