Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami on Saturday reiterated that Bangladesh will receive its supply of the Coronavirus vaccine from an Indian manufacturer “quickly and urgently” as per previous assurances.
“....Bangladesh is our priority, that assurance you have already. The exact schedule, we’ll communicate with your government first. That’s being done,” he told reporters after attending a function in the city.
He said the government [of Bangladesh] has to have the arrangement first. "As soon as the government indicates that everything is ready, we will work accordingly."
Reiterating the highest priority India attaches to Bangladesh under India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a Summit meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on December 17 last year, assured that vaccines would be made available to Bangladesh as and when produced in India.
On Saturday India launched its own vaccination programme, which aims to vaccinate more than 1.3 billion people against Covid-19, reports BBC.
India has recorded the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world after the United States.
Millions of doses of two approved vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin - were shipped across the country in the days leading up to the start of the drive.
"We are launching the world's biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability," Modi, said, addressing the country on Saturday morning.
The Indian High Commissioner said their Prime Minister assured that neighbors will get the vaccine first and in that list Bangladesh is a priority country.
“Bangladesh will get it urgently as we rolled out the vaccination programme,” he said, mentioning that the process is underway.
The envoy said as soon as the government indicates everything is ready, they will work accordingly.
The High Commissioner said vaccination is everybody’s right and they will make sure their partners get it quickly.
Bangladesh has a deal with Serum Institute, India (SII) SII through local pharma giant Beximco Pharmaceuticals for 30 million doses of the said vaccine.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller on Saturday visited the ongoing two-month long group art exhibition titled “Sheikh Hasina: On the Right Side of History” and appreciated the artists for taking forward the history of this “extraordinary country”.
“I think the timing is perfect,” said Ambassador Miller, mentioning the birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of Bangladesh's independence.
Deputy Managing Director of Cosmos Group Masud Jamil Khan, former diplomats, including Tariq Ahmad Karim, who is currently Director of the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies at the Independent University and Honorary Advisor Emeritus of Cosmos Foundation, WildTeam CEO Dr. Md. Anwarul Islam and Associated Press (AP), Dhaka Bureau Chief Julhas Alam were present.
Welcoming the US Ambassador, Masud Khan said, “The USA is our true and tested friend ...we see our relationship with the USA from a long-term and strategic view.”
Masud Khan briefed the Ambassador about the art exhibition and said each and every art piece here is unique and special in its own way.
“Art may not be essential to our day-to-day survival but it’ll be in the long run to the survival of society and culture,” Masud Khan said, adding that the exhibition is part of the year-long programme to celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud formally inaugurated the group art exhibition on December 15, 2020.
Gallery Cosmos in collaboration with the Cosmos Atelier71 recently hosted an art camp supported by the Cosmos Foundation on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu.
Artists Alakesh Ghosh, Ahmed Shamshuddoha, Sheikh Afzal, Nasir Ali Mamun, Bishwajit Goswami, Ratneshwar Shutradhar, Rasel Kanti, Monjur Rashid, Sourav Chowdhury, Maneek Bonik, Jayanta Sarkar, Azmol Hossain, Fida Hossain, Amit Nandi, Didarul Limon, Tamanna Afroz, Fahim Chowdhury, Miskatul Abir, Proshun Halder, Hasura Akter Rumky and Surovi Akter had participated in the camp.
The artworks produced at the camp are being showcased at the exhibition. The exhibition will remain open till February 12, 2021 at Cosmos Centre and can only receive 20 visitors at any one time.
The US Ambassador, accompanied by his son Andrew Miller, visited different wings of the Cosmos Group at Cosmos Centre, including UNB newsroom and the offices of WildTeam and AP. He thanked the Cosmos Group for the invitation and hospitality.
Earlier, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson and Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan visited the art exhibition.
Visitors have been advised to wear masks all the time while visiting the exhibition and maintain appropriate distance from each other.
Bangladesh has urged Uzbekistan to sign an agreement in the field of tourism, to finalise agreement on avoiding double taxation for traders, and setting up an Embassy in Dhaka.
The two countries also discussed holding their first Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) meeting in the first quarter of current year, signing agreement for visa waiver for diplomatic and official passports, resuming direct flight on Tashkent-Dhaka-Tashkent route and towards Europe, and holding the third meeting of Joint Working Commission in Dhaka.
Uzbekistan Ambassador to India with concurrent accreditation to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka Dilshod Akhatov (Deputy Foreign Minister) paid a visit to Bangladesh Embassy in Tashkent and had a meeting with Bangladesh Ambassador Md Zahangir Alam on Friday.
During the meeting Bangladesh Ambassador called upon his Uzbek counterpart to assist Bangladesh Embassy’s initiative on the issues mentioned above.
Akhatov assured Bangladesh Ambassador of taking up the matter with his Government to expedite the process of these bilateral issues between Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
DCM and Minister of Bangladesh Embassy Nripendra Chandra Debnath and First Secretary of Uzbekistan Embassy in New Delhi Azamjon Mansurov were present during the meeting.
At the end of the meeting Dilshod Akhatov visited the Bangabandhu Corner at the embassy and signed the visitors' book there.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has expressed deep shock over the loss of many lives and resources in a magnitude 6.2 earthquake in Indonesia.
A strong earthquake shook the country’s Sulawesi island just after midnight Friday, toppling homes and buildings, triggering landslides and killing at least 34 people.
More than 600 people were injured during the strong quake, which sent people fleeing their homes in the darkness.
Also, there were reports of many people trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings. Thousands of displaced people were evacuated to temporary shelters.
In a message to his Indonesian counterpart Retno LP Marsudi, Dr Momen expressed his heartfelt sympathies to the Indonesian government, people of the country, and the members of the bereaved families.
The foreign minister hoped that the resilient and enterprising people of Indonesia would overcome the disaster and return to normal life.
The Indonesian disaster agency said the death toll climbed to 34 as rescuers in Mamuju retrieved 26 bodies trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings.
The agency said at least 300 houses and a health clinic were damaged and about 15,000 people were being housed in temporary shelters in the district. Power and phones were down in many areas.
Also, Indonesia’s meteorology, climatology and geophysical agency warned of the dangers of aftershocks and the potential for a tsunami.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
In 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Palu on Sulawesi island set off a tsunami and caused the soil to collapse in a phenomenon called liquefaction. More than 4,000 people died, many of the victims buried when whole neighbourhoods were swallowed in the falling ground.
A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.
Dr Momen said, “Officials and rescue workers of Bangladesh and Indonesia can take part in joint earthquake drills and simulation exercises as both countries are disaster-prone.”
He also reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to work with the international community on disaster risk reduction and global climate change adaptation and mitigation issues.
King Philippe of Belgium has said that he will consider a possible visit to Bangladesh to see the country’s impressive socio-economic development.
The King said this when newly-appointed Ambassador of Bangladesh to Belgium Mahbub Hassan Saleh presented his Letters of Credence to him at the Royal Palace in Brussels recently.
The Ambassador said it would be an honour for Bangladesh if the King and the Queen can pay a visit this year, when Bangladesh is celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 50th anniversary of independence.
He also said that such a visit of the highest level would contribute significantly to further strengthening the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Belgium.
Also read: Belgium to send trade mission to Bangladesh
King Philippe took a great deal of interest in hearing about Bangladesh’s poverty alleviation, disaster management, infrastructure development and other success stories, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.
King Philippe recalled his visit to Bangladesh in his personal capacity in the early 1990s.
Ambassador Saleh conveyed to the King the greetings and best wishes of the President and Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
He said the government and people of Bangladesh would warmly welcome the royal couple if they could kindly make it convenient to visit the country.
The King also showed interest in the bilateral trade and investment scenario between Bangladesh and Belgium.
Ambassador Saleh spoke about the growing trade relations between the two countries and highlighted the excellent investment opportunities in Bangladesh and said that Belgian investors may explore the same in a number of potential areas including pharmaceuticals, ICT, and engineering.
Ambassador Saleh briefed the King in detail about the Rohingya crisis and thanked him for Belgium’s supportive role in this regard in the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member during 2019-2020.
The Ambassador said that sustained and effective pressure on Myanmar from the international community including Belgium needs to continue for an early repatriation of the 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas to the Rakhine state in Myanmar.
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The Ambassador was taken to the Royal Palace in a ceremonial motorcade.
He was accompanied by Deputy Chief of Mission Faiyaz Murshid Kazi, and First Secretary Fakhruddin Ahamed.