Member of Parliament and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has criticised Donald Trump for saying that the US may retaliate if India does not agree to export hydroxychloroquine, a drug used for the treatment of malaria. There is speculation that hydroxychloroquine may be effective against the coronavirus, however, such has not been confirmed by any research body.
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".
"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?" 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. @USAndIndiahttps://t.co/zvSPEysTNf- Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) April 7, 2020
Trump on Monday warned of "retaliation" if India banned supply of medicines. "For many years, they've (India) been taken advantage of the United States on trade. So I would be surprised if that were his decision. He'd (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) 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," Trump had said.
A few hours after Trump's remarks, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that India would supply essential drugs to some nations badly affected by COVID-19. "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," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.