India to cooperate with Bangladesh in conducting trials, production, distribution of Covid-19 vaccines

India has said it will cooperate with Bangladesh in vaccine development for Covid-19, which would include conducting trials, production of the vaccine and its distribution, as and when vaccines are ready for use.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also expressed India’s interest in cooperating with Bangladesh in renewable energy including solar projects at the India-Bangladesh Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting that he co-chaired with his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday. The meeting was held virtually.

On vaccine development, Jaishankar said Bangladesh will be accorded high priority in all efforts. “We are ready to start Phase-III clinical trials in Bangladesh soon after we launch these trials in India. Common trials would certainly help strengthen cooperation among our regulators and simplify processes for future distribution and joint production of vaccines,” he said.

Till the time full scale flight operations are resumed between India and Bangladesh, India expressed hope that the countries will be able to operationalise the air travel bubble soon so as to facilitate essential travel, especially for those seeking medical attention.

The Bangladeshi Minister pointed out that various non-tariff barriers and lack of adequate trade facilitation was restricting flow of Bangladeshi products into India, particularly in the North-East States. Momen requested India to address the issues of accreditation, certification, standardisation, port restrictions and also sought development of port infrastructure to enable exports of Bangladesh into India.

He also asked Jaishankar to look into the export of essential commodities, such as onions, by India since it impacted the domestic market of Bangladesh. India recently banned export of onions from the country to avoid domestic shortage.

In the crucial area of power and energy, the Indian Minister said that discussions on establishing synchronous connections reflected the gains made in the area. “We are hopeful that the flagship Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant will come on-stream by next year and so too should the India Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline,” he said.

India is also keen to cooperate in renewable energy and will be happy to undertake a solar project on a pilot basis for the Government of Bangladesh, the Minister added.

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