April 11, 2020

INDIA: President Trump Thanked Prime Minister Modi For Helping Supply Hydroxychloroquine To The United States. Donald Trump Did Not Threaten India With 'Retaliation' Over Hydroxychloroquine.

The Economic Times
written by Staff
Friday April 10, 2020

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump has described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "terrific" for allowing the export of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to the US, seen as a possible cure for COVID-19, saying India's help in the extraordinary times "will not be forgotten".

India, the largest producer of hydroxychloroquine, agreed to lift the ban on the export of the medicine to the US after Trump spoke to Modi on phone last week. Three Gujarat-based companies would export these t ..

"I want to thank Prime Minister Modi of India for allowing us to have what we requested for the problem that arose and he was terrific. We will remember it," Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on coronavirus on Wednesday.

In a tweet hours earlier, Donald Trump praised Narendra Modi for his strong leadership and said that India's help during this crisis will not be forgotten.

"Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank y ..

"Thank you, Prime Minister for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!" Trump said in his tweet that went viral and was re-tweeted more than 60,000 times and liked by over two lakh people.

By Wednesday night, more than 14,600 Americans lost their lives due to the Covid-19 and over 4.3 lakhs have tested positive for the dreaded disease.

Scientists and the medical fraternity are racing against time to find a vaccine and a therapeutic solution to the infection that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the COVID-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York.

Anticipating that it will work, given initial positive results, Trump has bought more than 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine for potential treatment of COVID-19 patients.

India manufactures 70 per cent of the world's supply of hydroxychloroquine, according to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) secretary-general Sudarshan Jain.

The country has a production capacity of 40 tonnes of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) every month, implying 20 crore tablets of 200 mg each. And since the drug is also used for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, manufacturers have good production capacities that can also be ramped up.

The Indian-Americans have welcomed the decision of the Indian government to allow the export of HCQ.

"President Trump is graceful and grateful. He is honest when he says that he will not forget India's gesture. He is a true friend of India," said Al Mason, a Trump supporter.

"Thank you President! I think you are well orchestrating the compulsion of history and demand of destiny that we and India be the best of friends, joined at the hip and yet as family, free hearts and minds ..

According to Johns Hopkins University date, 88,538 people have died due to coronavirus and nearly 1.5 million people have been infected. The US has the highest number of infections in the world at 431,838, followed by Spain (148,220)and Italy 139,422.
Fact Hunt, India
written by Anubha Pandey
Tuesday April 7, 2020
Summary: US president was responding to a question asked by a journalist about retaliation to the US's decision to ban the export of medical goods. The claim that Mr trump threatened India is false.
The US is one of the worst-hit countries with over 380,000 confirmed coronavirus and 12,000 deaths as of April 7. The superpower is doing everything to contain the further spread of the novel virus, including advocating the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 patients.

US President Donald Trump has presented the drug as a "game-changer" even though his health experts are not sure about its effectiveness against coronavirus. India is the biggest producer and exporter of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug and banned its export, along with a bunch of others deeming them essential for its own domestic to fight the pandemic.

On April 7, during a White House press conference Trump spoke about hydroxychloroquine and India's stand on the export of the drug amid the coronavirus crises. Following the conference, multiple media reports claim that the US threatened "retaliation" if India did not clear exports of the US.

Many media houses including The guardian and AlJazeera published reports claiming the US threatened India with retaliation. Hindustan Times also published a report on similar lines titled, "Trump talks of ‘retaliation’ if India turns down anti-malarial drug request".

One of the excerpts of a Business Today report reads, "Countries like the United States have been seeking India's help to allow the sale of hydroxychloroquine tablets to treat the growing number of coronavirus patients. During a White House briefing on Monday, Trump said he would be surprised if India refused to supply these medicines. Threatening India of retaliation, Trump said he spoke to PM Modi on Sunday morning. "If he (Modi) doesn't allow it to come out, that would be okay, but of course there may be retaliation. Why wouldn't there be?" he added."

Social media is also flooded with similar claims. Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of Alt News, shared a screenshot of Rahul Kanwal's tweet where he said that India has 'accepted the requested of Donald Trump to export hydroxychloroquine to US', and suggested that India was threatened with retaliation, and not 'requested.'
Journalist Nidhi Razdanalso made a similar claim while retweeting a small clip of the conference. She said, "Here is President Trump threatening India with " retaliation" just hours ago if it doesn't supply HCQ to the US."
The truth behind the claim

After watching the White House press conference video of April 7, the first thing that becomes evident is that Donald Trump was not making a unilateral statement threatening 'retaliation' against India. He was actually responding to a question asked by a report. You can watch the relevant part in the following video at 30:42.

Here's the conversation.

Reporter: Thank you, sir, are you worried about (a) retaliation to your decision to ban (the) export of medical goods like Indian prime minister Modi's decision to not export hydroxychloroquine to (the) United States and other countries?
The reporter asked a very twisted question that was made to appear Trump was threatening retaliation. Completely false reporting. (emphasis mine)
Trump: I don't like that decision if that's er... I don't... I didn't hear that that was his decision. I know that he stopped it for other countries. I spoke to him yesterday, we had a very good talk and we will see whether or not that's his ... I would be surprised if he would, you know because India's [sic] does very well with the United States. For many years, they have been taking advantage of the United States on trade so I would be surprised if that was his decision... He'd have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said we appreciate your allowing our supply to come out... if he doesn't allow it to come out that would be okay but, of course, there may be retaliation, why wouldn't there be?

Clearly, the reported questioned Trump was whether 'he' was worried about retaliation to a decision 'he' took to ban exports of medical supplies from the US while likening it to the situation to the Narendra Modi government's move last week to ban exports of hydroxychloroquine. To this Trump replied by firstly speaking about his dislike about India's decision and his phone conversation with PM Narendra Modi. In the very end, he says, "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?"

Trump's statement might give a wrong impression and seem as Donald Trump was threatening retaliation against India if it did not allow its hydroxychloroquine to come out when read independently. But when read in the context of the question asked by the reporter, it is clear that Trump was actually answering the question posed to him, which means he said, "there might be retaliation to the US government's move to bar exports of medical supplies."

It is surprising to see how prominent media houses did not even check the source carefully before making these claims. Interestingly, the small clip shared by Nidhi Razdan, that was originally posted by Suhasini Haider just started after the reported said, "Thank you, sir, are you worried about (a) retaliation to your decision to", i.e, the clip started only has this part of reporters question, " ban (the) export of medical goods like Indian prime minister Modi's decision to not export hydroxychloroquine to (the) United States and other countries?" It appears more than just a 'mere coincidence.'

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