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We will supply anti-malaria drug, don’t politicise matter: India after Trump warns of retaliation

Donald Trump and PM Modi during his February visit to India.

Donald Trump had issued a warning to India over the supply of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine
Centre said India will now be supplying essential drugs to neighbouring countries
The official also said that there should be no unnecessary controversy over this

US President Donald Trump on Monday warned India of retaliation if the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is not supplied to the US. The Centre has said that India will be supplying essential drugs to neighbouring countries and those that are badly affected by the pandemic.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, "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."

He also said that we will be supplying hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol to neighbouring countries that are dependent on India.

"Given the enormity of the COVID19 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 HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities," said Srivastava.

The official also said that there should be no unnecessary controversy over this. India has maintained that it will supply the essential drug to countries in need once the domestic requirements are met.

Explaining why India had banned exports of the drug initially, Srivastava said, "Like any responsible government, our first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of our own people."

Earlier, President Donald Trump warned India that the US may retaliate if it did not export anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine despite his personal request to Prime Minister Modi over a phone call. Trump said he would be surprised if New Delhi did not relent as it has good relations with Washington.

Last week Trump said he has sought help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the sale of hydroxychloroquine tablets ordered by the US to treat the growing number of coronavirus patients in his country, hours after India banned the export of the anti-malarial drug.

Over 10,000 people have already died in the US which has become the worst-affected nation after Italy and Spain. US now has the highest number of infections at 3.6 lakh cases.

On April 4, 2020, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, through a notification said, The export of hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from hydroxychloroquine, therefore, shall remain prohibited, without any exception.

Just two days after, this decision has been reversed. There has been immense pressure on government of India because of request for hydroxychloroquine from over 30 nations.

Therefore, while India will keep the safety and interest of its own people, it will give due consideration to the needs of the world in fighting Covid-19.

The notification of April 7 did not mention HCQ which caused much confusion. But now there is clarity that India will honour its prior commitments of paid-for consignments and then consider any further requests from abroad keeping in mind domestic requirements.

India currently is in the process of assessing and calculating domestic requirement for arthritis, malaria and potentially Covid-19.
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