Indian Government gives in to threats of retaliation by US President

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Donald Trump and PM Modi were seen showing immense love and respect for each other barely weeks ago when President of the United States of America visited India. However, that friendship is facing a hard test in the face of a pandemic.

President Trump has been insisting that anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is effective against Coronavirus though there is no research backing this claim yet.

Days after India denied the supply of hydroxychloroquine, dropping hints that the United States will maintain a strict stance on India if it does not release the hydroxychloroquine, US President Donald Trump said: “I spoke to him (PM Modi), Sunday morning and I said we appreciate it that you are allowing our supply (of Hydroxychloroquine) to come out, if he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be okay, but of course, there may be retaliation, why wouldn’t there be?”.

India has agreed to lift an export ban on a drug US President Donald Trump has called a “game-changer” in the fight against coronavirus, despite reservations from medical experts. The President has repeatedly touted the drug as a possible cure for Covid-19, despite a lack of proof.

India is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hydroxychloroquine. The spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said that the “the stock position could allow our companies to meet the export commitments that they had contracted”.

There are also reports that President Trump owns a “small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.

India banned its exports as Indian cases spiked but hours after the Trump’s remark, local media reported that India would “consider” the request.

Tharoor, who had spent many years at the United Nations as the under-secretary-general, slammed the US president. Tharoor said that the US will get the anti-malaria drug when “India decides to sell it to you”.

Shashi Tharoor also tweeted that 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?”

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi also slammed the United States President Donald Trump over his threat of retaliation against India if it did not agree to export the drug.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “Foreign policy is apolitical and we are with the government on this. But, it should not take any decision out of fear or threats as it sends a wrong signal to the outside world”.

This is all happening as the US Medical experts including the National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Anthony Fauci have warned that there is no clinical evidence that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is an effective COVID-19 treatment. Clinical trials have only recently begun.

“We are only meeting the demand,” Vikas Swarup, an Indian foreign ministry official said. “It is entirely up to the receiving countries what they want to do with the HCQ they import from India.”

The drug is proven to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It was among 24 medicines, including the painkiller acetaminophen, for which India restricted exports on March 25, as the country went into lockdown.

This is a huge diplomatic failure on the part of Indian government that it gave in to the threats by the US President. It is indeed a humanitarian duty of India to help those in need in the times of crisis but the help should be voluntary, not under threats of retaliation.

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