Narendra Modi calls off visit to Dhaka

COVID-19 fears had led to cancellation of Mujibur event

March 09, 2020 09:50 pm | Updated March 10, 2020 11:37 am IST - NEW DELHI

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

India is ready to work with Bangladesh to stop the spread of COVID-19, which prompted cancellation of the inauguration ceremony of the birth centenary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka.

A statement from External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Monday confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scheduled to participate in the March 17 event, would not travel to Dhaka. He said Bangladesh had formally communicated that the authorities were forced to “defer” the event in the prevailing health scenario in Bangladesh. “While expressing understanding of the circumstances that necessitates this deferment, India is ready to work with Bangladesh, as partners, to combat the spread of this disease in our shared neighbourhood,” said Mr. Kumar.

Authorities in Dhaka detected three cases of COVID-19 on Sunday which led to widespread panic in the country. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assured people that her government was capable of meeting the public health emergency. This was followed by a meeting of the celebrations committee of the “Mujib Year” after which the mega event, to be held in the Parade Ground of Dhaka, was cancelled.

“The Government of Bangladesh has advised us that fresh dates for these commemorative events will be conveyed later,” said Mr. Kumar. Bangladesh has promised to hold smaller events to mark the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman throughout the year, avoiding large public gatherings in view of the recommendations of epidemiologists.

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