After Relaxing Export Ban, India To Supply Hydroxychloroquine, Other Medicines To Nepal And Bhutan The flags of SAARC nations. (Wikimedia Commons)

Amid the surge in Coronavirus cases in South Asia, India has decided to supply hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and other medicines to Nepal, Bhutan as they are dependent on the country for pharmaceuticals, reports Economic Times.

In a virtual meeting on Thursday (9 April), the trade officials of South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held a discussion on various issues including supply of HCQ and other medicines.

The HCQ is an anti-malarial drug that is experimentally being used in the treatment of Covid-19 disease in many countries.

The meeting took place a day after India relaxed the ban on exports of paracetamol and HCQ, placed them in the licensed category.

“We will help these countries especially Nepal and Bhutan as they have been completely dependent on us for many products,” an official was quoted in the report as saying.

As many as 30 countries including SAARC member Nepal had requested India to lift the ban on the export of HCQ.

Besides India and Nepal, other members of SAARC grouping are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Barring Pakistan, all SAARC member nations participated in the video conference on Thursday.

India is one of the largest producers of HCQ, which is used to treat malaria and knee pains, and exports around $50 million worth of the drug annually.

Besides the supply of HCQ and medicines, the SAARC countries also discussed issues such as provisional clearance of imports at preferential duty with suitable conditions, provisional acceptance of digitally signed certificates of origin, acceptance of scanned copies of documents for clearance of imports by customs and release of payments by banks, resolving issues being faced for exports/imports at land customs stations on land border.

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