Hours after he threatened India with retaliation if Hydroxychloroquine, a drug considered important in the battle against coronavirus, is not exported, United States President Donald Trump took a softer tone saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "great".
This happened after New Delhi exported 29 million doses of the drug to the US, something Trump confirmed in an interview with Fox News.
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug that India produces in abundance. It has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for usage by health workers treating COVID-19 patients.
It doesn't guarantee "security" and people should continue to take precautions, the top research body said.
However, Trump called the drug a "game-changer", and it's being tested on 1,500+ patients in New York.
Last weekend, Trump dialed PM Modi (whom he called his close friend more than once) and asked for the drug to be released.
India said it was considering the request.
But Trump's tone soon changed as he said, "If he (PM Modi) doesn't allow it to come out, that would be okay, but of course, there may be retaliation. Why wouldn't there be?"
As expected, Trump mellowed down after India released the drug.
"I bought millions of doses... more than 29 million. I spoke to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, a lot of it comes out of India. I asked him if he would release it. He was great. He was really good," Trump said.
In the US, over 4 lakh have got infected and 12,857 died.
The US is not the only nation to have made the request for the anti-malarial drug. Bahrain, Australia, Israel, Spain, France, and Germany also had similar requests.
In fact, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, in a letter to PM Modi, made a Ramayana reference while asking for the drug.
He said India and Brazil will overcome this crisis by joining hands.
"Just as Lord Hanuman brought the holy medicine from the Himalayas to save the life of Lord Rama's brother Lakshmana, and Jesus healed those who were sick and restored the sight to Bartomeu, India and Brazil will overcome this global crisis," Bolsonaro said.
Yesterday, the Ministry of External Affairs, while announcing that the drug will be made available to neighboring countries and badly-hit nations, urged against politicizing the matter.
Newly-appointed spokesperson of MEA, Anurag Srivastava, said the decision was taken on humanitarian grounds, while adding, "We would, therefore, discourage any speculation in this regard or any attempts to politicize the matter."
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