India’s export ban covered Hydroxychloroquine as well. Why is the US demanding to lift the ban?
They say ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’ and this indeed is a true definition of a friend. Friendship is defined not by favorable times but by adverse situations, which can make the bond of friendship stronger or can break it completely. It also depends on when these adverse situations arrive as in at what stage of friendship, early or late. We don’t tend to educate you regarding the philosophy behind friendship, but this is important to understand the current state of relations between India and the US.
You might now be familiar with a chemical compound known as ‘Hydroxychloroquine’. It’s the anti-malarial drug and deemed to be helpful in the treatment of COVID-19 but more importantly, this chemical compound may decide the fate of India’s and America’s friendship. Why are diplomatic relations dependent on one chemical compound? Isn’t it weird? This is what Coronavirus has done!
Export and Embargo
As India is undergoing a lockdown to avoid the spread of Coronavirus, an embargo (export restriction) has been imposed on goods. Drugs had also been put in this category and hence their export had been restricted completely (not allowed even on humanitarian grounds). But this past weekend, US President Donald Trump had a conversation with our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed allowing the supply of Hydroxychloroquine to America on humanitarian grounds.
Post having a conversation over the call with PM Modi, Trump addressed the press at White House were in reply to a question he said that if India doesn’t allow export of the anti-malarial drug, there might be retaliation. He also justified it by adding “Why there shouldn’t be?” And this triggered unrest among Indian media who started questioning the India-US relation’s future. This was valid as well but, all this came to a slight halt yesterday evening after the announcement of ‘partial lifting of export ban’ by Indian foreign ministry.
Why is US Desperate?
There’s a saying in Hindi ‘Marta Kya Na Karta’ (You can do anything when your life is threatened). The US is currently the worst affected country due to Coronavirus with more than 2.5 lakh cases. Last week, President Trump announced that around 1 lakh people may die in the country. In such conditions, Hydroxychloroquine looks like a slight ray of hope.
For the US, more than half of this drug is supplied by India. Now, given all these stats it was just logical and fair for Trump to approach PM Modi and request for the lifting of the export ban on humanitarian grounds. But to this, India had to make sure that it had enough stock of the drug for itself (because cases are on a speedy rise here as well). Hence, India could not give a nod straightaway.
The Final Word
Coming to where we started from – Friendship. India and the US are lately being seen as friends by the world. From Barack Obama to Trump and from Dr. Manmohan Singh to Narendra Modi, the world has seen India-US relations getting stronger. At this time when the pandemic is devastating the entire world with US worst hit, India-US friendship is probably at stake (to a very slight extent) due to Hydroxychloroquine. Now with confirmation that India has enough stocks for contingency, it may help its friend to tackle the situation.