Bangladesh and India have “agreed in principle" to go for the clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines in Bangladesh soon after India launches these trials there.
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Tuesday conveyed Bangladesh that they are ready to start phase-III clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines in Bangladesh soon after they launch these trials in India.
Bangladesh "agreed in principle" on the proposal, a source at the Indian High Commission in Dhaka told UNB.
"Common trials will help strengthen cooperation among our regulators and simplify processes for future distribution and joint production of vaccines," said the Indian Minister.
Collaboration to produce Covid-19 vaccines will be highly important, said the Indian Minister.
"We look forward to cooperating with Bangladesh in vaccine development, trials as well as distribution and production as and when vaccines are ready for use," Dr Jaishankar said during the Foreign Minister-level talks with Bangladesh on Tuesday.
He said Bangladesh will be accorded high priority in all these efforts.
Talking to UNB, a senior official said the Indian Home Secretary will be visiting Dhaka in November to hold a meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart and discuss border management and consular issues.
Reaffirming India’s commitment to prioritising the supply of Covid-19 vaccine, the Indian External Affairs Minister emphasised the importance of Bangladesh in India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy.
In this context, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and his Indian counterpart directed their officials to expedite the exchange of required information regarding the phase-III testing, vaccine distribution, co-production and delivery in Bangladesh.
The Indian side appreciated Bangladesh's contribution to the Saarc COVID-19 Emergency Fund to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
"I’m glad that our health professionals are regularly exchanging information on best practices on the prevention and management of the COVID-19 pandemic," said the Indian External Affairs Minister.
The Indian side has also offered 10 online courses on Covid-19 management and an exclusive online course in Bangla for Bangladesh health professionals.
Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr AK Abdul Momen appreciated India’s assurance on prioritizing Bangladesh for the supply of any potential vaccine in the future.
About the vaccine, Dr Momen said Bangladesh wants to ensure COVID-19 vaccine for the people of Bangladesh whenever it is produced and ready for use.
"We'll collect it from the country which will produce the vaccine first for the public good," he told reporters in a separate briefing.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh has already communicated with all possible countries including Britain and European Union, not just with India and China.
The two sides welcomed the holding of a virtual Prime Minister- level Summit in December next.
Recalling that the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in March 2020 had to be postponed due to the sudden onset of COVID-19, the two sides hoped that the visit could be rescheduled, coinciding with the commencement of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Bangladesh’s independence as well as establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and India.
Bangladesh and India held the 6th Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting on Tuesday.
The two Foreign Ministers led their respective sides at the meeting.