Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday said India is now at an advanced stage of developing COVID-19 vaccine saying friends, partners and neighbours will get priority once it is developed.
"For us, Bangladesh is always a priority," he told reporters after a meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Masud Bin Momen at a city hotel.
Highlighting India's strength in producing vaccine, Shringla said he also briefed Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about what they are doing to fight off COVID-19.
Like India, he said, Bangladesh also has a large population and it needs to take measures to fight off COVID-19.
The Indian Foreign Secretary said luckily the fatality rate is low and the recovery rate is high in both the countries.
Earlier, Bangladesh said it will explore all avenues to get quick access to COVID-19 vaccine and choose one which will be safer and useful for the country.
"We will explore all options and will head for that one which will be safer and useful for us," Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
Shringla said there has not been much contact during COVID-19 period but the relationship must continue.
"We must continue and move forward our strong bilateral relationship," Shringla said adding that he primarily came to Bangladesh to look at that matter.
Bangladesh is in touch with countries, including China, Russia, the USA and the UK for discussions and cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine.
At the meeting on Wednesday, they discussed ways to further improve the relations between the two countries.
On India's engagement in developing COVID-19, they updated each other on the issue.
He said there has been some progress on transshipment and railway cooperation fronts, and the two countries will discuss on what more can be done.
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla arrived in Dhaka on a two-day visit on Tuesday carrying a message from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Shringla is on a visit to Dhaka to discuss and take forward cooperation on matters of mutual interest, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka soon after his arrival.
Shringla, who had served as Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, assumed office of the Indian Foreign Secretary in January this year.
As the Foreign Secretary, he first visited Dhaka in March this year.
The Indian Foreign Secretary is also likely to meet his Bangladesh counterpart Masud Bin Momen.
He met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during his last visit to Bangladesh.
There has been a gap of bilateral visit between the two countries over the last few months due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
But the two countries were connected virtually and held a number of important discussions on various issues of mutual interest.
India has recently described its relations with Bangladesh as "exceptionally close" but expressed displeasure over "mischievous" story pertaining to Bangladesh-India ties.
"We’re confident that both sides appreciate mutual sensitivity and mutual respect building further on the relationship," said Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at a virtual weekly media briefing in New Delhi recently.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen termed the Bangladesh-India relations a ‘blood relationship’ while Bangladesh-China relations an ‘economic tie’.
Referring to Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar's recent remarks, the MEA Spokesperson said India's relationship with Bangladesh is a role model of good neighbourly relations in the region.