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India extends support to Bangladesh candidature for WHO post; revival of rail link on cards in Dec 17 summit

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NEW DELHI: India has extended its support to Bangladesh’s candidature for the post of executive director (ED) of South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami conveyed this support when he paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka on Thursday, according to a report by Bangladesh’s official news agency BSS.

After the meeting, PM’s Deputy Press Secretary Hasan Jahid Tusher briefed reporters, according to BSS.

Tusher said the Indian envoy discussed with the prime minister the difficulties being faced by Bangladeshi nationals in obtaining Indian visas due to coronavirus pandemic.

The envoy informed the PM that 90 percent Indian visas of different categories have already been opened, while the remaining ones would be given depending on the COVID-19 situation, according to BSS m.

The envoy also pointed out the ongoing process of supplying 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh through Seram Institute of India.

In this regard, he expressed his government’s desire to increase the capacity of Bangladeshi health professionals for effective delivery of the COVID vaccines, reported BSS.

The Indian high commissioner conveyed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings to his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and all the Bangladeshis, Tusher said, adding she thanked and conveyed her regards to her Indian counterpart.

Hasina recalled with gratitude the contribution of India to the War of Liberation and also the post-war reconstruction of the newly independent Bangladesh.

“As far as Bangladesh is concerned, all Indians are united in their voice,” she said, adding that it was exemplified during the ratification of historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) in Indian parliament.

The Indian envoy said that in order to establish a “Golden Bangladesh”, as dreamt by the Father of the Nation, the Indians are willing to be a part of the move. Chilahati-Haldibari rail link, a pre-1965 connectivity line, would be inaugurated along with some other projects during the forthcoming virtual summit between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on December 17, according to BSS report.

The envoy expressed his country’s keenness to invest in Bangladesh’s food and agricultural sector to add value to its agricultural products.

He also briefed the prime minister about the forthcoming programmes to celebrate ‘Mujib Barsho” as well as the 50 years of independence of Bangladesh and establishment of diplomatic relations between the two neighbouring countries.

In a unique gesture, Hasina also invited the High Commissioner’s spouse for the meet.

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