India on Tuesday handed over Bangladesh 31 ambulances with in-built life support equipment, alongside nearly 20 tonnes of essential medical apparatus as the first tranche of COVID-19 support announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Dhaka in March this year. Bangladesh's foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen received the consignment from Indian high commissioner in Dhaka Vikram Doraiswami at a ceremony in the capital saying "whenever we are in critical problems, it is India which comes forward to help us".
The medical apparatus included oxygen nasal cannula, oxygen face masks, oxygen flow meters, non-rebreather mask, pulse oximeter devices, high flow nasal cannulas, liquid medical oxygen cylinders of 10 litre capacity, LMO cylinders of 45 litre capacity, oxygen concentrators and infra thermometers. "Bangladesh and India have been working together in partnership since the outbreak of the pandemic," Momen said, recalling India's recent oxygen supplies.
Dhaka received the seventh oxygen express train, carrying 186 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) under a procurement agreement while the first consignment reached on July 24 to help treat COVID-19 patients in Bangladesh hospitals. The Indian premier had announced New Delhi would provide Bangladesh 109 life support ambulances while officials said the supplies were part of his commitment.
The foreign minister expressed his hope India would start giving the pledged COVID-19 vaccine doses to Bangladesh soon as per the commitment under a commercial agreement. Doraiswami said India would resume its vaccine supply abroad as soon as the internal crisis was over and Bangladesh would get the jabs as per commitment as New Delhi's "priority partner".
"India remains committed to doing all it can as a close partner (of Bangladesh), and a civilisational friend, within the limits of our capacity and in a manner that is sustainable," he said. The envoy said India consistently prioritised regional and international cooperation including through policy measures, capacity building, and cross-border flows of medical supplies, as part of "humanity's fight against this coronavirus".
"We have and will continue to prioritise our most cherished partnerships with our closest neighbours, especially Bangladesh," Doraiswami said. The Indian High Commission issued a subsequent statement saying these supplies were intended to further support Bangladesh's extensive efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond while remaining ambulances would be delivered shortly.
"As our ties transcend even strategic partnerships, India remains ready to further support the government and people of Bangladesh in their own resolute responses to public health emergencies within the limits of India's own capacity," the high commission said. The coronavirus has claimed 24,547 lives in Bangladesh, along with 1,433,396 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.