The unnecessary controversy created by opposition politicians and their supporters over the decision by the Government of India to lift the ban to supply hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) — an anti-malaria drug that some believe could be a treatment for Coronavirus — to its neighbours and to the United States, Brazil, and other countries in dire need, is nothing more than an attempt to brew a storm in a teacup.
The decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to share the drug with other countries in a crisis-situation like this, wherein a large number of people are dying every day, is truly commendable. Modi should be praised for the effort, not criticised. The Prime Minister has always followed the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which means “the world is one family”.
“Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!”, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday. A sizeable chunk of the 29 million doses of HCQ bought by the U.S. to combat the coronavirus pandemic is from India, Trump said during a TV interview on Monday night. Trump also said PM Modi was “great” when he sought his help to allow exports of the anti-malarial drug to treat Covid-19 patients in the U.S.
Modi acknowledged Trump’s gratitude with this tweet: “Fully agree with you President @realDonaldTrump Times like these bring friends closer. The India-US partnership is stronger than ever. India shall do everything possible to help humanity’s fight against COVID-19. We shall win this together.”
Latin America’s biggest country has referred to Ramayana while making a request for export of HCQ to fight Covid-19. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, in a letter to Modi, wrote, “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 Bartimeu, India and Brazil will overcome this global crisis by joining forces and sharing blessings for the sake of all peoples.”
Sri Lanka‘s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has thanked the Indian government for sending essential medicines after India sent a 10-tonne consignment to to its southern neighbour through a special charter flight. “I wish to convey my heartfelt appreciation to Hon PM @narendramodi, Govt & people of #India for your warm gesture in sending medicines to #LKA on a special chartered flight. Your kind & generous support is deeply appreciated in this hour of need”, he tweeted yesterday.
As usual, the opposition had nothing good to say. They said that Modi had buckled under pressure from Trump to remove the export ban on HCQ. Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Friendship isn’t about retaliation. India must help all nations in their hour of need but lifesaving medicines should be made available to Indians in ample quantities first”.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the Modi-led government has let down India by succumbing to U.S. pressure.
What these opposition leaders (obviously) do not realise (or perhaps choose to remain silent about on purpose) is THE FACT THAT INDIA HAS AMPLE STOCKS OF HCQ TO TAKE CARE OF OUR POPULATION. India makes about 70% of the world’s HCQ. The country has a production capacity of 40 tonnes of HCQ every month, or 20 crore tablets of 200 mg each. Recently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare placed an order for around 10 crore tables with Ipca Laboratories and Zydus Cadila. Each COVID-19 patient reportedly needs 14 tablets, so the 10 crore pills ordered by the Indian government can potentially treat over 71 lakh people. Furthermore, India can easily double – or even triple – our HCQ production capacity.
It is a real shame that, even in grave times like this, losers like Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury have nothing better to do.