The Congress today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at the time of a health crisis as it would set the wrong precedent in international diplomacy.
The opposition party's remarks came after US President Donald Trump on Monday warned that his country may "retaliate" if India did not export hydroxychloroquine drug, used for COVID-19 treatment, despite his personal request.
On Tuesday, the government decided to partially lift the ban on export of the anti-malarial drug, paving the way for its supply to the US and other countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic, saying India would export hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol on a case-by-case basis to the countries which have already placed orders for them after meeting domestic requirements.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "Foreign policy is apolitical and we are with the government on this. But, it should not take any decision out of fear or threats as it sends a wrong signal to the outside world".
Addressing a press conference through video conferencing, Mr Khera said the Prime Minister should not take any step that goes against the country and its 130 crore citizens as they are his first responsibility while everything else comes later.
Asserting that there was no place for threats in international diplomacy, he said, "Whether we should have buckled under pressure is something that history is watching".
Mr Khera said India is not used to the language of threats and allowing export of the life-saving drug sets a wrong precedent.
"What is the kind of precedent we are trying to set when we buckle up under threats in this hour of crisis," he asked.
The Congress leader said the nation has a "tradition" of not succumbing to threats as Indira Gandhi had "shown some countries their place" when they threatened India during the struggle for a separate Bangladesh.
"We expect our prime minister to learn from our rich traditions and history. We need to remind our prime minister that we should not be bogged down by threats, as we represent 130 crore Indians," he said.
"Please do not forget that our first responsibility is towards India and its 130 crore Indians, and everything else comes later," he said.