• Thomas Crompton

How Coronavirus Has Strengthened US-India Relations


Trump delivering remarks at the 'Howdy Modi' event in September 2019

This past February, President Donald Trump visited India. Both he and PM Modi had strengthening the strategic relationship between India and the US at the top of their agendas. Little would they have known that the ties would be very soon tested by a non-living entity, the Coronavirus. Trump has openly praised the potential of the anti-malaria drug, Hydroxychloroquine to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. The scientific community around the globe remains divided over this issue and clinical trials are underway to assess the exact impact of Hydroxychloroquine on COVID - 19. India is the largest manufacturer of Hydroxychloroquine with 70 percent of world supply and had earlier imposed a ban on its export, keeping in view the domestic challenges, such as a dense population, to deal with COVID-19. It can manufacture 20 crore tablets of 200mg every month.

India’s ban on the export of Hydroxychloroquine may have further pressurized US President Trump. A contextual analysis is needed to empathize with the POTUS and understand his sentiments. These are tough times for the United States, a friend, and a strategic partner of India. President Donald Trump has a lot to handle in these testing times and his statements were made in an environment where the COVID-19 was testing America’s resilience and resolve. Seeing the marvelous American suffering, the Indian government rightly agreed to supply nearly 29 million doses of Hydroxychloroquine to the US on humanitarian grounds. Trump was emotional in his praise for PM Modi and said the US will always remember this gesture. His tweet appreciating India was liked by more than 3.5 lakh people (350 thousand). India is called the pharmacy of the developing world but even developed nations will now experience health security through India’s low cost and high-quality medicine. India supplies almost half of the generic drugs used in the United States. One main lesson of the Coronavirus is that Indian and American pharma companies should lower their dependence on China and deepen their mutual cooperation.

India and the United States have been discussing a joint strategy to deal with COVID-19. The India-US joint statement issued after President Trump’s February visit cited continued joint efforts in the areas of prevention, early detection, and rapid outbreak response of COVID-19. USAID has promulgated $2.9 million in aid to India, while the US-dominated World Bank has granted $1 billion to India to strengthen its defenses against COVID - 19.

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