Gift of vaccine marked as Hasina-Modi strong relation: Momen

Publish: 10:26 PM, January 21, 2021 | Update: 10:26:PM, January 21, 2021

DHAKA,– Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said today’s India’s gift of 20 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses is a mark of goodwill and strong relation between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

“It’s a mark of such goodwill and strong relationship that our honourable prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi have achieved,” he told the vaccine handover ceremony at state guest house Padma here.

Indian high commissioner Vikram Kumar Doraiswami handed over the the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine as gift of India to Dr Momen and health minister Zahid Maleque while state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam was present.

The foreign minister thanked India and its people for the gift and said New Delhi remains beside Bangladesh in fighting the pandemic as like they had supported during the country’s War of Liberation in 1971.

Momen said today’s gift as a sign of partnership, cooperation and collaboration between Bangladesh and India combating the deadly virus .

From the very beginning , he said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid emphasis on partnership and collaboration in dealing with the Covid-19 situation.

He said today’s 20 lakh doses are in addition of 3 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine, those have been purchased from India under the tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed on November 5 and a subsequent agreement on December 13 among Bangladesh government, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BPL) and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

“The other vaccines (under the agreement) will be arrived here on time,” he said, adding that the government would start vaccination drive as early as possible.

The foreign minister said many developed countries are yet to get the vaccine, while “We (Bangladeshis ) are one of the earliest recipients of vaccine in the world”.

Momen thanked the health ministry for managing the COVID-19 situation whereas there was negative campaign fearing huge death toll in Bangladesh due to the pandemic.

He said, as per Bloomberg media, Bangladesh has become number one in terms of Covid-19 management in South Asia.

The first consignment of purchased 50 lakh doses of the vaccine from India are expected to arrive later this month while same 50 lakh doses quantity of made in India of vaccine are scheduled to arrive in each of the five months as per the agreement.