Coronavirus: Donald Trump has described hydroxychloroquine as a “game-changer” though it is yet to be established as an effective cure for COVID-19.
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has criticised Donald Trump’s remarks that the US may consider a “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.
“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 at a White House press briefing on Monday, when a reporter 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.
Shashi Tharoor, who had spent many years at the United Nations and was the under-secretary general, hit out at the American President, saying the US will get the hydroxychloroquine supply when “India decides to sell it to you”.
“Never in my decades of experience in world affairs have I heard a Head of State or Government openly threatening another like this. What makes Indian hydroxychloroquine “our supply”, Mr President? It only becomes your supply when India decides to sell it to you,” Mr Tharoor tweeted.
Never in my decades of experience in world affairs have I heard a Head of State or Govt openly threatening another like this. What makes Indian hydroxychloroquine "our supply", Mr President? It only becomes your supply when India decides to sell it to you. @USAndIndia https://t.co/zvSPEysTNf
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) April 7, 2020
Hours after Mr Trump’s remarks and amid rising pressure over the export of the key drug, the government today said India “will supply essential drugs to some nations badly affected” by COVID-19.
The ban came after India curbed the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and the medicines made from the US, including paracetamol – a common pain reliever also sold as acetaminophen. Some of those restrictions have since been relaxed.