US President Donald Trump hinted at a possible retaliation if India does not lift its ban on the export of Hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug that Trump has repeatedly touted as a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19 — despite a request from Washington.

  

Speaking from the White House during the coronavirus taskforce briefing, Trump said that he would be “surprised” if New Delhi doesn’t send Hydroxychloroquine.

Last week, during a call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump said he has requested India to release the amount of hydroxychloroquine ordered by the United States.

Reiterating that for many years, India has been taking advantage of the US on trade, Trump said, “I didn’t hear that that was his (Modi) decision. I know that he stopped it for other countries I spoke to him yesterday, very very good talk, and we’ll see whether or not that stays I wouldn’t be surprised if he would you know because India’s does very well with the United States.”

  *“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 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?”* Trump added.

While India has banned the exports, it is “considering the request”, The Indian Express has learned. Sources said this can be viewed as an opportunity for India’s pharmaceutical industry to gain access to US markets, but a call will be taken by New Delhi only after taking into account its own “domestic requirements”. The issue is likely to figure during the next Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting to tackle the coronavirus outbreak expected to take place today

Hydroxychloroquine tablets are recognised as a prophylactic for those on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 — doctors, nurses, paramedics, and first responders — and can be used to treat patients. With more than 3 lakh confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 8,000 fatalities, the US has emerged as the worst hit countries of the panemic. And based on some initial results, the Trump administration is banking heavily on hydroxychloroquine.

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