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Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday thanked her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for sending the Oxford vaccine produced in India as a gift for Bangladesh.
“I’m thanking prime minister Narendra Modi for sending the vaccine as a gift,” she said, adding that the procured vaccine will come soon from India as planned.
The prime minister said this while virtually addressing an international conference titled ‘Celebrating the 100 Years of the University of Dhaka: Reflections from the Alumni – International and National’ on the occasion of the university’s birth centenary with a theme, ‘Achieving Sustainable Goals and Building a University Suitable for Fourth Industrial Revolution and Creating Skilled Human Resources’.
The prime minister hoped that the vaccine that Bangladesh procured from India will arrive by 25-26 January.
She said they have already planned how they will proceed with the vaccine. “We’ve taken all the steps to face the COVID-19 situation in the country,” the prime minister said.
She hoped that Bangladesh will get rid of the COVID-19. “That’s what we expect.”
Education minister Dipu Moni addressed the opening ceremony as a special gust while prominent economist Rehman Sobhan presented the keynote speech, held at the university’s Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban with vice-chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman in the chair.
DU pro-VC (Academic) ASM Maksud Kamal gave the vote of thanks while pro-VC (Administration) Mohammad Samad read out the citation on prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
Earlier, Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami handed over the COVID-19 vaccine to foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque at a ceremony at State guesthouse Padma on Thursday afternoon. State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam was, among others, present.
The foreign minister said the arrival of 2 million (20 lakh) doses of Oxford vaccine from India shows the sign of strong relations and goodwill between prime minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
“It’s a historic day. They’ve (Hasina and Modi) achieved such a goodwill and strong relations! It shows the sign of that bonding,” he said after receiving the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine as gift from India.
The foreign minister said prime minister Sheikh Hasina from the day one laid emphasis on partnership and collaboration in dealing with the COVID-19 situation.
“Today’s gift from India is the sign of partnership, cooperation and collaboration,” Momen said adding that collaboration, cooperation and partnership is very essential for each country in the world.
He said many developed countries are yet to get the vaccine and Bangladesh is one of its earliest recipients in the world.
Reiterating the highest priority India attaches to Bangladesh under India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17 December assured that vaccines would be made available to Bangladesh as and when produced in India.
Both prime minister Hasina and her Indian counterpart Modi also noted the ongoing bilateral collaboration between the private sectors in this area.
Referring to Bloomberg media, foreign minister Momen and state minister Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh have become number one in terms of COVID-19 management in South Asia.
Indian minister of external affairs S Jaishankar tweeted on “VaccineMaitri”, saying that India reaffirms the highest priority to its relations with Bangladesh.
It is part of commitment made at the highest level — Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi — and as part of ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, said Indian high commissioner Doraiswami.
He said Bangladesh and India will fight the disease together as friends.
Another 5 million doses of the vaccine from India are expected to arrive within this month.
Some 5 million doses of the vaccine are scheduled to arrive in each of the next six months as per the agreement.