PM Modi discusses coronavirus issue with Bangladesh counterpart


PM Modi and Bangladesh PM spoke regarding efforts to contain the pandemic in the region. (Mohd Zakir/HT FILE PHOTO)


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday discussed collaboration in the fight against Covid-19 and the cross-border movement of essential items amid the lockdown in both countries.

Modi, who spoke on the phone with Hasina, assured her of India’s readiness to help Bangladesh in containing the spread of Covid-19 and mitigating the health and economic impact of the pandemic, according to an official statement.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction at continuation of the supply of essential items across the border by road, rail, inland waterways and air. They also expressed happiness at progress in implementing special arrangements agreed on by leaders of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries during their video conference on March 15.

They discussed the regional situation in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and briefed each other on steps being taken to mitigate its impact in their countries.

Modi thanked Hasina for contributing $1.5 million to the Saarc Covid-19 Emergency Fund. Hasina thanked him for coordinating efforts to combat the pandemic in the region and for supplying aid to Bangladesh, both in terms of medical supplies and capacity building.

He also greeted Hasina and the people of Bangladesh on the occasion of the holy month of Ramzan.

“Spoke to PM Sheikh Hasina to greet her & the people of Bangladesh on the Holy Month of Ramzan. We discussed COVID-19 situation & ways India and Bangladesh can collaborate in the fight against it. Our relationship with Bangladesh will continue to be one of our highest priorities,” Modi tweeted.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar also spoke on telephone with his counterparts from Colombia, Jamaica, Grenada, Lebanon, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay on Wednesday.

In his call with foreign minister Ernesto Talvi of Uruguay, Jaishankar said he was glad India could make a medical contribution to combating the Coronavirus and explored the possibilities of economic cooperation.

Jaishankar and foreign minister Kamina Johnson Smith of Jamaica discussed the pandemic, and he assured her India would be a “reliable provider of medicines, both generally and to combat Coronavirus”.

During his call with foreign minister Claudia Blum de Barberi of Colombia, Jaishankar reviewed discussions on trade and energy and expressed “our practical solidarity in the fight against Coronavirus”. He also said Indian would facilitate the return of Colombian nationals.

Jaishankar and his counterpart from Trinidad and Tobago, Dennis Moses, discussed the upcoming meeting of the joint commission and collaboration on IT and healthcare. He also discussed health cooperation with his counterpart from Grenada, Peter David. Lebanon foreign minister Nassif Hitti and Jaishankar discussed economic cooperation, including in agriculture. Hitti expressed his appreciation for the Indian contingent in the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

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