- 18 Oct 2020
Other than the confusion created on how President Trump answered the question of the reporter, the news that India lifted its ban after Trump's address is nothing but a big fat lie. India needs a stock of 10 crore pills for a month but can produce 35 crore pills in a month. In this time of the war against the COVID-19, it is pathetic to say the least that a section of the Indian Media finds propaganda to vulture on the ethics of journalism during a pandemic.
The crux of the chronology needs to be understood. The export of the drug hydroxychloroquine and the Trump controversy along with it have raised many eyebrows on India’s global strategy to deal with COVID-19.
On 7th of April, the peculiar mainstream media houses released a breaking "story" about United States President Donald Trump threatening India and talking about a possible retaliation, if India doesn't supply the drug. Trump's White House briefing was around 4 am in the morning of 7th April (IST) and the official notification came that morning itself. Now, the actual twist in chronology begins. The countries like USA and Brazil, pre-ordered this drug hydroxychloroquine on 22nd of March itself from the Indian companies like Zydus Cadila, Ipca, etc. The ban on the export of this drug after these orders were placed and the countries had also paid an amount well in advance.
Now, the chronology caricature jumps to 6th of April. Four important mainstream media outlets of the Khan Market bonhomie like The Hindu, The Print, India today etc. release their articles saying that "India will partially lift the ban on hydroxychloroquine" and will deal with countries who have requested for this drug on a case-to-case basis, maintaining the domestic reserves. The news was reported so poorly that some of them crossed all boundaries of hypocrisy in Journalism.
Image displaying India Today’s ethics of Journalism
But as the truth emerged the sad propaganda to whitewash the Nation’s efforts against a pandemic became crystal clear. Trump's so called "Retaliatory threat" came on 7th April, 4 am but the decision of the lifting of this ban came on 6th April, late evening. The public notification that came on 7th April morning, confused the people and the ecosystem took full advantage of this. The cabinet committee along with the NPPA and the MEA had an extensive meeting on Monday, 6th April, before taking this decision.
On top of that there was no threat as such in the words of President Trump for the largest democracy in the world at all. The question asked to Trump by Jonathan Karl was was very pointed, “Thank you, sir. Are you worried about retaliation to your decision to ban export of medical goods, like Indian Prime Minister Modi’s decision to not export hydroxychloroquine to the United States and other country?”. To which President Trump replied, “ I don’t like that decision. 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’ll see whether or not that is. I would be surprised if he would because India does very well with the United States. For many years they’ve been taken advantage of the United States on trade. So I would be surprised if that were his decision. He’d have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said, we’d 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? Yeah”. The entire transcript can be read here. Trump here has answered two questions and it is clear from the conversation that he is talking about retaliation to his own decision. Other than the confusion created on how President Trump answered the question of the reporter, the news that India lifted its ban after Trump's address is nothing but a big fat lie.
Now, some people were concerned about the availability of this drug in the country. India is the largest exporter of hydroxychloroquine and hence the nation has sufficient stock of this drug and is not even an issue. India needs a stock of 10 crore pills for a month but can produce 35 crore pills in a month. Some complained about the fact that the API (Active pharmaceutical Ingredients) of this drug comes from China, hence it's not wise to export it now. For their information, Zydus Cadila is the company which produces this drug in the largest amount and they produce both the API and the tablets.
Around 22 countries have requested India for this generic drug, being a leader in a drug manufacturing is in no manner a weakness for any nation. India is currently playing the role of the Vishwa guru in the situation of the global pandemic, which presently holds a soft power similar to a country supplying missile during a war. In this time of the war against the COVID-19, it is pathetic to say the least that a section of the Indian Media finds propaganda to vulture on the ethics of journalism during a pandemic.
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