Dhaka, Aug 19 (PTI) Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday met his Bangladeshi counterpart Masud Bin Momen here and the two top diplomats discussed ways to boost bilateral ties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shringla, who arrived here on Tuesday on his second visit to Bangladesh after he took office as the foreign secretary, held talks with Masud at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
Shringla on Tuesday called on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina here during which they discussed security-related issues of mutual interest and co-operation in containing the coronavirus pandemic and revival of the economy in a post-COVID-19 world.
Both Bangladesh foreign office and the Indian high commission preferred to keep the visit as a low-key affair amid reports that this is Shringla’s first overseas tour since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of his meeting with Shringla, Masud on Tuesday said that he would discuss various bilateral issues particularly regarding COVID-19 situation and prospective cooperation over access to coronavirus vaccine being developed by UK’s Oxford University.
'We will talk about trial possibilities of their (India) vaccine (being developed at Oxford University) here as we are continuing our discussion (regarding access to a vaccine) with everyone,' he said on Tuesday.
Developed in collaboration with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, Oxford University’s vaccine candidate is leading the race for a vaccine seen as the only viable option to get the world out of the coronavirus pandemic.
The vaccine is undergoing final stage trials in different countries. Serum Institute is also set to begin trials of the vaccine in India this week.
Masud said Bangladesh has also communicated with Britain’s AstraZeneca via the High Commission in London with the offer for the trial to be held in Bangladesh, which has recorded 282,344 coronavirus cases and 3,740 deaths from the disease.
It is also trying different ways to secure a vaccine.
'Different vaccine producers in India are dealing with the commercial sides of the vaccine. This is the reason for driving our efforts. We are in discussion with different countries that have developed vaccines, be it the Americans or Oxford,” he said. PTI NSA ZH AKJ ZH ZH