During the talks between president Kovind and Bangladesh leadership there was a sense of satisfaction at the level of cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic, Shringla added.

“India had been quite quick in providing both medicines and vaccination to Bangladesh. We have supplied some 2.18 crore (21.8 million) doses of vaccines so far. We also arranged for trains of liquid medical oxygen. We also acknowledged the assistance provided by Bangladesh to India, when we had our devastating second wave,” he said.

We have resolved the most difficult issues in the most amicable manner. Very few countries are able to do this. We have been able to resolve both land and maritime boundaries
Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India's foreign secretary

Foreign secretary further summed up today’s (Wednesday’s) engagement, saying that “we are two countries that mutually reinforce each other and are there for each other. And that message was really there.”

“We have resolved the most difficult issues in the most amicable manner. Very few countries are able to do this. We have been able to resolve both land and maritime boundaries,” he added.

Indo-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline will be in position to inaugurate next year

Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the Indo-Bangladesh friendship pipeline is progressing very well and that it could be inaugurated by next year.

“Indo-Bangladesh friendship pipeline is a very, very unique and significant pipeline that enables us to integrate our energy requirements. This project is progressing very well. And I understand that we will be in a position to be inaugurated next year,” Shringla said during a special briefing on president Kovind’s visit to Bangladesh.

“This aspect was discussed with the Bangladeshi side a few days ago and I think there was a lot of plans on how to use that diesel that would be coming through the pipeline into Bangladesh,” the foreign secretary said.

Shringla further said that president Kovind’s visit was not a bilateral visit, but one to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.

“We are here to commemorate at the invitation of Bangladesh, a very significant, unique and special event. So, this is a one-off visit in which we are looking only at commemorative activities, we are not looking at, this is not a bilateral visit in which you touch base, politically, economically, culturally, socially,” Shringla said.

This is a one-off visit in which we are looking only at commemorative activities, we are not looking at, this is not a bilateral visit in which you touch base, politically, economically, culturally, socially
Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India's foreign secretary

Talking about China’s role in Bangladesh, foreign secretary Shringla said, “as far as we are concerned, India and Bangladesh are bound by ties of history, language, spirituality, culture. Our ties are unique, and we don’t compare our relationships with those that are there with other countries. Our relationship is really generous, and we don’t look at what relationships are there with other countries when we let’s say, celebrate the uniqueness of our own special relationship with Bangladesh.”

India disburses $10b in LOC to Bangladesh amid pandemic

Expressing satisfaction over the progress in Line of Credit to Bangladesh, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that India has disbursed 10 billion dollars in LOC money despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Foreign secretary also said that India extended 10 billion dollars to Bangladesh which is at highly concessional credit terms as Dhaka accounts for almost a third of our LOC.

“We have made good progress in a line of credit (LOC), as Bangladesh accounts for almost a third of our line of credit. 10 billion dollars is what India extended to Bangladesh, which is at highly concessional credit terms. These lines of credit have contributed to enhancing our connectivity, infrastructure, not just at the border but different parts of Bangladesh,” Shringla said in Dhaka.

He further said: “We are very satisfied with the progress of these lines of credit. We are going to work on further streamlining this, looking at another package.”

“Last year despite Covid we disbursed 120 million dollars in LOC money,” Shringla added.

Speaking about the Quad, the foreign secretary said that it includes four countries that have come together to work with other countries in the Indo-Pacific in a positive constructive, cooperative manner.

“Quad is just four countries that have come to work with other countries in the Indo-Pacific in a positive constructive, cooperative manner whether is it is a vaccine, climate change, new technologies and HADR. The idea is to work with countries in the Indo-Pacific region to provide them with the means to attend to our common vision of a free, open, transparent inclusive Indo-Pacific,” he said.

Bangladesh will soon get some defence items from India under US$ 500 million line of credit (LOC) that had been extended to Bangladesh for purchasing defence equipment, reports UNB.

“I’m told that under this Line of Credit several items have been identified and fast-tracked. They are fairly in advance stages of the process,” said Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla while responding to a question at a media briefing at a city hotel on Wednesday night.

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami conducted the briefing that highlighted various aspects of Indian president Ram Nath Kovind’s first day engagement in Dhaka.

India’s joint secretary (Bangladesh-Myanmar) at the Ministry of External Affairs Smita Pant and director Rajesh Uike were, among others, present.

Shringla, who served in Dhaka as India’s High Commissioner, said they will see some defence items being exported and coming to Bangladesh. “This is something we would like to see.”

The foreign secretary also highlighted the potential of joint manufacturing in the defence sector which is also something they want to see enhanced.

The US$ 500-million Line of Credit was first announced by India during prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in 2017.

President Kovind is on a three-day state visit to Bangladesh from 15 to 17 December, which is his first state visit since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.

President Kovind met both Bangladesh president Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina. Ram Nath Kovind is scheduled to depart for Delhi on 17 December.