India

"Will Not Be Forgotten": Trump Thanks India For Allowing Key Drug Export

Washington:

Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, thanking India after the government allowed the United States to buy 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug believed effective in the treatment of coronavirus.

"Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!" the American President tweeted.

Donald Trump warned of "retaliation" if it did not agree to export hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug which is being tested as a coronavirus cure.

Amid rising pressure and requests for the key drug from over 30 countries, led by the United States, the government on Tuesday said it will allow limited exports of the key drug to "nations that have been badly affected" by the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump confirmed that the first shipment of a total of 29 million doses of the drug was on its way from three factories in Gujarat to the United States, reports news agency PTI.

"I bought millions of doses... more than 29 million. I spoke to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, a lot of it comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it. He was great. He was really good," Donald Trump told American channel Fox News.

The US recorded nearly 2,000 novel coronavirus deaths for a second day in a row, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The record-breaking figure of 1,973 deaths (slightly higher than the previous day's toll of 1,939) brings the total number of US fatalities to 14,695.

Mr Trump has been widely criticised for initially downplaying the virus, which he likened to an ordinary flu and said was under control in the United States, before later accepting that it was a national emergency.