India has formally handed over 20 lakh doses of Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) as "gift" to Bangladesh at a ceremony in State Guest House Padma in Dhaka today.
Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami handed over the vaccines to Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Health Minister Zahid Maleque and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam.
Thanking the government and people of India for the vaccines, Foreign Minister Momen said India stood by Bangladesh during the Liberation War, and today, when the pandemic is rattling the world, India again came with gifts of vaccines.
"This proves the true friendship between Bangladesh and India," he said at the ceremony.
Addressing the gathering, High Commissioner Doraiswami said that India, in line with the discussions held during the virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, delivered the vaccines within a week of their rollout in India.
Vaccination began in India on January 16.
As part of India's "Neighbourhood First" policy, India accords high priority to the India- Bangladesh relationship, he said.
He said that the gift of 20 lakh doses of Covishield is in fact the biggest such dispatch by India to any of the neighbouring countries.
The vaccines have been manufactured in Pune, India by Serum Institute and purchased by Government of India from its own quota for gifting purposes.
High Commissioner Doraiswami said that January 21 is a landmark day as the arrival of the vaccines will support Bangladesh's own efforts against Covid-19.
He said that India, as a committed partner of Bangladesh is delighted to have been able to contribute to this historic moment.
He added that the arrival of the vaccine is only the latest of many steps already taken by the two countries to combat Covid-19 together.