‘Will do all we can’: How PM Modi responded to Trump’s request on Covid-19 drug
US President Donald Trump has asked PM Modi to release orders placed by the US for hydroxychloroquine doses to help his country fight coronavirus
India has made it known to the US that it is a “responsible country” and will do all to supply hydroxychloroquine, a prophylactic for health care workers fighting against coronavirus, but only after making its own 1.3 billion population secure against the pandemic.
“We will do all what we can” was apparently what PM Modi told the US President Donald Trump during an extensive call on Saturday evening. Besides focusing on bilateral cooperation against the pandemic, President Donald Trump recalled his visit to India in late February.
According to government sources, India is stockpiling the drug for its population in the event of a worst case scenario and will lift the export control order only after it has enough to take care of all Indians. Other countries are also doing the same. India is one of the largest manufacturers of hydroxychloroquine, which has been used for treatment of malaria and lupus.
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While India is all for honouring its contracts for supply of this drug to American companies, it is also willing to be on the frontline of human clinical trials of a future Covid 19 vaccine with its body of highly professional doctors , laboratories and transparent feedback to the manufacturers. This may not be possible in African countries as well as in China.
In the past two weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been working the phones and video-conferences with all the major global leaders to fight the pandemic. Since the lockdown, he has spoken to G-20 leaders, majority of SAARC leaders and leaders from Israel, Spain and Brazil.
Supplementing the global effort is external affairs minister S Jaishankar who is in constant touch with his counterparts in Gulf countries and has touched base with nearly 100 foreign ministers in the past two months.
While the “extensive” telephone call between PM Modi and US President Trump was focused on the fight against coronavirus, the conversation between EAM Jaishankar and his US counterpart Mike Pompeo went beyond coronavirus and touched on bilateral relations.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla has also been on the phone in this context. In the past two weeks, he has spoken to his counterparts in India-Pacific region including the US, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.
Worried at the spike in coronavirus cases due to the infection spread at Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin, India is seriously ramping up its pharmaceutical capacities too as there would be a price to pay to whoever develops the Covid-19 vaccine first.