New Delhi: Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that US President Donald Trump touts as cure for coronavirus patients, has become one the most sought after drugs worldwide. However, it's India that has seen itself caught in the middle of this heightened demand. After America's threat of 'retaliation', Brazil has now invoked Ramayana to request New Delhi it's export.
"Just as Lord Hanuman brought the holy medicine from the Himalayas to save the life of Lord Rama's brother Laksmana, 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. Please accept, your Excellency, the assurances of my highest esteem and consideration," read the letter from President Jair Bolsonaro to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government had put a hold on exports of hydroxychloroquine as well as on the pain reliever, paracetamol, saying stocks were depleting because of the hit to global supply chains after the coronavirus emerged in China late last year.
But Trump spoke to PM Modi over the weekend seeking supplies and on Monday said India may face retaliation if it didn't withdraw the ban on exports.
India's neighbours, including Nepal, have also sought the anti-malaria drug.
Later, foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said, "It has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities."
"We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic," he said.