India

"Will Supply To Badly-Hit Nations": India Amid Row Over Export Of Drug

Hydroxychloroquine is believed by many to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19.

New Delhi:

India will supply key drugs linked to a coronavirus cure to "nations that have been badly affected" by the pandemic, the government said today, hours after US President Donald Trump's stunning comments about "retaliation" if the Indian government did not allow the export of anti-malarial drugs.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said given the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has always maintained that the international community must display strong solidarity and cooperation.

"In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities. We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. We would therefore discourage any speculation in this regard or any attempts to politicise the matter," said Mr Srivastava.

At a White House briefing on Monday, Donald Trump had said "there may be retaliation" if India does not agree to export hydroxychloroquine, a key anti-malaria drug believed by many to be effective in the treatment of coronavirus. His remarks come nearly two weeks after the government banned export of the drug as experts test its efficacy in helping treat COVID-19 patients.

"I would be surprised if he (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) would, you know, because India does very well with the United States," Mr Trump said, asked whether he was worried about "retaliation to the US ban on export of medical goods" from India.

"I don't like that decision, I didn't hear that that was his decision. I know that he stopped it for other countries. I spoke to him yesterday, we had a very good talk and we'll see whether or not that's his... For many years, they've been taken advantage of the United States on trade. So I would be surprised if that were his decision. He'd have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said, we'd appreciate you allowing our supply to come out. If he doesn't allow it to come out. That would be OK. But of course, there may be retaliation. Why wouldn't there be," the US President said.