During Presidential debate, Trump suggests India is underreporting coronavirus statistics
United States President Donald Trump spoke harshly of Russia and China during the first pre-election Presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden. However, Trump also lumped in India, an ally, with the other two nations, suggesting underreporting of coronavirus statistics. Notably, India and the US have had a cordial relationship, with Trump once calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "true friend."
Trump was replying to Biden's criticism of COVID-19 containment measures
During the Presidential debate, Biden criticized Trump for his administration's poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The US has the world's highest number of infections (nearly 72 lakh cases) and also the highest number of fatalities (over 2 lakh deaths). Trump reiterated that the higher toll is due to higher testing compared to other nations, before naming Russia, China, and India.
'India, Russia, China don't give a straight count'
"You don't know how many died in China. You don't know how many people died in Russia. You don't know how many people died in India," he said, "They don't exactly give a straight count, just so you understand."
India second worst-hit in outbreak after US
According to the Union Health Ministry, till 8 am on Wednesday, India reported 62,25,764 COVID-19 cases, after witnessing a single-day spike of 80,472 fresh infections. This makes India the second worst-hit country after the US. The total cases include 9,40,441 active infections while 51,87,825 patients have been discharged. The death toll rose to 97,497 with 1,179 fresh fatalities in the past 24 hours.
Trump blamed China for pandemic again
Trump claimed that "millions" of people could have died had it not been for the actions taken by his administration. The US President also blamed China, which he does frequently, for the pandemic. China, where the outbreak first emerged, has been accused of covering up the outbreak in the initial stages. US leaders frequently criticize China and Russia, but not India.
Earlier this year, Trump visited India, elevating ties
The US and India have grown as allies in the recent past. Earlier this year, Trump had also accepted Modi's invitation to visit India for the 'Namaste Trump' event. The event was organized after a similar 'Howdy, Modi!' spectacle in the US last year. Trump has described Modi as a true friend and also wished the latter on his birthday earlier this month.