India has supplied paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine to over 120 countries in the last two months while ensuring the domestic supply, as these two medicines are in huge demand due to COVID-19, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.
Goyal said that India has put restrictions on exports of these medicines with an intention to ensure that not only the rich and mightier countries get these medicines, but the less developed nations too get equal and fair access to serve and cure their people.
"Over the last two months, we were able to service the requirement of over 120 countries for these medicines. More than 40 of them (countries) received these medicines as grant/free of charge. Otherwise possibly the whole medicine would have been cornered by few rich and prosperous countries.
"But while doing that, we ensured that national interest is paramount. We did a deep research and various modelling of what could be required in India even in the worst-case scenario and added every possible buffer to that to ensure that we have adequate medicines and its ingredients in India before we serve the rest of the world," he said through a recorded message at a webinar organised by Bennett University.
Citing an example, the minister said during a turbulence in flight, it was advised first to tie "your seat belt before helping others".
India ensured that its requirements are taken care of and "we also tied the seat belts of over 3-4 billion people across the globe with the supply of these medicines to over 120 countries," he added.
While paracetamol is a pain reliever, Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug.
Further, he sought to clear the air around the Prime Minister's self-reliance call, saying it does not mean that India will look only inwards.
Self-reliant India means engaging with the world and not overly dependent on the world, he said, adding it was about the confidence that the country can produce quality products at competitive rates.
He also said that now India is manufacturing PPE kits and masks in huge numbers and companies are looking at making India a hub of these products. Goyal added that this was not "well understood" by many people.