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NEW DELHI : India partially lifted a ban on the exports of a malaria drug after President Donald Trump sought supplies for the U.S., according to government officials with knowledge of the matter.

Exports of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol will be allowed depending on availability of stock after meeting domestic requirements and existing orders, said the government officials, who asked not to be identified citing rules. Shipments will be restricted and permission will be on humanitarian ground, they added.

The spokesman for the trade ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Trump said at the White House on Monday he was unaware Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had banned the export of a drug that he believes is effective against coronavirus, and noted he asked Modi for a supply of the medicine. If New Delhi declined to ship the medicine, the president said there may be retaliation.

India’s Department of Pharmaceuticals and Ministry of External Affairs will decide on overseas allocations of the drug, an official said. India’s trade regulator, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade had on March 25 restricted the exports of hydroxychloroquine.

‘Personal Rapport’

The trade regulator also allowed exports of over two dozen drug formulation and active pharmaceutical ingredients -- the chemicals that make a finished drug work -- in a notification issued on April 6. These were earlier put in the restricted list.

India’s decision to lift the ban was driven both by its bilateral trade relationship with the U.S. and the personal rapport between Trump and Modi, said Bipul Chatterjee, who heads the CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics and Environment in Jaipur.

“This decision was an ideal example of how trade equations will develop in the post-Covid-19 world, where food and medicines will increasingly become part of national security concerns," Chatterjee said Tuesday. “In this case, India seems to have enough hydroxychloroquine to export on humanitarian grounds. But we may not see such generosity among nations for many drugs and food items going ahead."

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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