HCQ: Trump hits conciliatory note, expresses satisfaction at India lifting export ban – Times of India


NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump reversed course on Wednesday regarding sourcing of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) from India, walking back from “retaliation”, taking a more conciliatory tone.
In an interview to Sean Hannity of Fox News, Trump did a characteristic u-turn, saying, “I spoke to PM Modi, a lot of it (hydroxychloroquine) comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it? He was great. He was really good. You know they put a stop because they wanted it for India. But there is a lot of good things coming from that. Lot of people looking at it and saying, you know I don’t hear bad stories, I hear good stories.”
In a sense, Trump was making good after he misspoke the day before, threatening retaliation against India if it kept intact the export ban on hydroxychloroquine. On Monday, India opened exports of HCQ and paracetamol on a conditional basis.
Trump’s remark was seen as deeply embarrassing to Modi, who had lifted the ban by Monday, and India seen as “caving” to US bullying.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Trump responded to a journalist who asked if he was worried about “retaliation” against US’ decision to ban medical exports just like India was doing on HCQ.
Trump was quoted as saying, “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 will see whether or not that’s his … I would be surprised if he would, you know because India does very well with the United States. For many years, they have been taking advantage of the United States on trade so I would be surprised if that was his decision… He’d have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said we appreciate your allowing our supply 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?”
In the past week, Modi received calls from the king of Bahrain, PM of Australia, and leaders of Israel, Spain, Brazil, France, Germany and US to request for HCQ and paracetamol. India has made these exports conditional on need and humanitarian reasons.
Sources said, foreign minister S. Jaishankar has spoken to his counterparts in the immediate neighbourhood and promised to keep them supplied with both HCQ and paracetamol.
Trump made a personal appeal to Modi to open up hydroxychloroquine exports in a conversation on Sunday. Trump has, in a controversial move, cleared the use of this anti-malarial drug against Covid-19. India has cleared the use of the drug as prophylactic for frontline healthcare workers, directly exposed to the virus, but not yet as treatment, citing insufficient data.
But the use of hydroxychloroquine is gaining acceptance among countries clutching at straws while the virus claims thousands of lives around the world.


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