Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina lauds Modi for Ukraine evacuations, jabs

Updated on Sep 05, 2022 12:17 AM IST

In an interview with news agency ANI, Prime Minister Hasina, who will begin her four-day visit to India on Monday, lavished praise on the Modi government’s gesture of providing Covid-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries under its Vaccine Maitri programme at a time when the pandemic was raging.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday lauded counterpart Narendra Modi. (ANI)
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday lauded counterpart Narendra Modi. (ANI)
ByAgencies, New Delhi

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday lauded counterpart Narendra Modi for rescuing students of her country who were stuck in Eastern Europe following the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict earlier this year.

In an interview with news agency ANI, Prime Minister Hasina, who will begin her four-day visit to India on Monday, lavished praise on the Modi government’s gesture of providing Covid-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries under its Vaccine Maitri programme at a time when the pandemic was raging.

“I really would like to express my thanks to Prime Minister that during this war between Russia and Ukraine, many of our students were just stuck and they came to Poland to shelter. But when you evacuate your students, Indian students, they also brought our students back home. You have shown a friendly gesture,” Hasina said.

Also read: On India-China rivalry, Bangladesh PM says ‘we have only one enemy, that is…’

To a question about the Vaccine Maitri programme, Hasina said it was a very “prudent” initiative taken by Prime Minister Modi.

“I thank Prime Minister Modi for this initiative and the way he contributed vaccines to not only Bangladesh, but also some south Asian countries, and it’s very helpful. And it’s a prudent initiative he has taken, and besides that, we bought vaccines with our own money, and also many other countries also contributed,” Hasina said.

The Prime Minister emphasised closer cooperation between the two neighbours and referred to India as a “tested” friend, who stood by Bangladesh in its hour of need, first in 1971 and then at later times also.

“There can be differences but these should be addressed through dialogue,” she said adding that in several areas, India and Bangladesh had precisely done that.

“We always remember their contribution during our 1971 war. And besides that even in 1975, when we lost all my family members. So, the then Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi), gave us shelter in India. Besides that, you see, these two countries, we are neighbours, close neighbours and I always give importance and priority to friendship with our neighbouring countries,” she said.

The relationship between the two countries should be for the betterment of their citizens, she said.

Hasina further said the country’s ‘friendship to all, malice to none’ policy has helped keep a healthy bilateral relationship with both India and China, despite an ongoing conflict between the countries over border violations.

“Our foreign policy is very clear. Friendship to all, malice to none. I always feel that yes, if there is any problem which is between China and India but I don’t want to put my nose into that. I want the development of my country and because India is our just next door neighbour, we have a very good relationship. We had many bilateral problems is true, but we solve many problems you know that” she said.

“Many people, especially in the western world, always ask me this question. But my point is that both India and China, I feel that we shouldn’t fight. We should if there is any problem with the neighbouring country it can be solved bilaterally. That is very very important. Yes, when you are living just side-by-side some problem will come up or remain or you can solve it.”

Also read: ‘Bangladesh is…:’ Sheikh Hasina on recent attacks on Hindu community

Asked about the incidents of mob vandalising Hindu temples in Bangladesh and whether the minority communities feel secure in the country, Hasina replied: “Some incidents sometimes take place but immediately we take action. It’s a very unwanted situation but you know very well it is not only in Bangladesh, but even in India also sometimes minorities suffered. So I think that both the country should show their magnanimity and our part, you know Bangladesh is a secular country and we have many religions here. And the religious harmony is here very much.”

She added that while extremism on social media existed in Bangladesh, her government has tried to preserve secularism in the country.

“Look extremism is everywhere. Even in India or other countries if you see the world, there are many countries you can find it out. So because it’s social media become bad nowadays. Even sometimes it’s not the bloggers but even other religions or so... Sometimes they write and then immediately people come, but we have been trying our best to control it. We never support that. Each religion, they have the right to perform its religion properly, and one should not say such a thing that will hurt the other religion. This is not good,” she said.

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