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As India grapples with the second wave of the record-breaking coronavirus surge, there has been an expression of solidarity and outpouring support from many countries to help India fight the pandemic. The past few weeks have been one of the most challenging and extremely grueling situations for the nation. Although India is fighting the battle with all its might, to receive help from our partner countries and neighbours during this time has not only been very gratifying but has also validated India’s participatory and collaborative stand in geo-politics. 

This week India received medicines and protective items from its closest neighbour- Bangladesh. India’s engagement with Bangladesh dates back to 1971 when India supported the country’s struggle for freedom and was the first to recognize it as a separate and independent state. History, language, culture are among the countless other commonalities binding the two nations. The bilateral ties between the two countries have only strengthened in the last couple of years, with 2021 marking fifty years of successful diplomatic ties assimilating on the lines of trade, connectivity, energy, and defence. Bangladesh was one of the first few countries to receive Indian covid-19 vaccines under the 'Vaccine Maitri' mission.

The Indian Red Cross Society received the second consignment of medical assistance sent by the Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata. The recent consignment includes the much-needed 2,672 boxes of medicines and protective equipment, containing eighteen kinds of COVID-related medicines. The consignment has supplied India with antibiotics, Paracetamol, different kinds of injections, vials, and hand sanitizer, etc. which also might face shortage due to increased raw material prices.

Earlier in May, Bangladesh extended its support to India by handing over 10,000 vials of Remdesivir injection at the Indian border port of Petrapole. Manufactured locally by BEXIMCO pharmaceuticals, one of Bangladesh’s biggest pharma companies, these injections were sent on special instructions by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Besides the vials of injectable and oral anti-virals, the supplies also included 30,000 PPE kits and several thousands of zinc, calcium, vitamin C, and other necessary tablets.

The support received from Bangladesh has reinforced India’s relationship with the nation and suggests stronger relations in the future. The government of Bangladesh has expressed deep sorrow at the loss of lives due to the covid-19 pandemic and has reassured the Indian government to help in every possible way to alleviate the suffering of Indian citizens. As, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier stated that, “Bangladesh is a major pillar of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, and so the gesture apart from being gladly received on humanitarian grounds also gives affirmation to India’s diplomatic policies."