The coronavirus, which originated from China's Wuhan and has claimed over 2.5 million lives worldwide, is not a "natural virus" and it was created from a laboratory, said Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday.
"...We need to understand the art of living with corona. That art of living is very important as it is not a natural virus. It is an artificial virus and many countries across the world are researching for a vaccine," Gadkari said in an interview to NDTV.
This is the first time that the Indian government has made a comment on the origin of the deadly contagion. This admission by a senior cabinet minister is significant as most countries have blamed a lab in Wuhan for the creation of the virus.
"The second thing is detection methodology. We need some good methodology. Immediately, we can identify (the virus). This is unexpected because this a virus from laboratory, this is not a natural virus," the Union minister added.
Gadkari's statement comes at a time when countries across the world, including the United States, have raised suspicions that the virus which has brought the world to a grinding halt, was created in labs in Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province.
US President Donald Trump, on multiple occasions, has blamed China for allowing the virus to spread around the world.
He has also referred to it as 'Chinese virus'.
A war of words also emerged between Trump and Chinese diplomats of the world over blaming each other for the origin of the virus.
Gadkari, however, expressed confidence that the countries, including India, are prepared to handle the coronavirus crisis.
"So, probably the world is prepared, India is prepared, scientists are prepared and the system is prepared by which after getting the solution for that, we can create a positive confidence. By taking the vaccine, there will be no problem. So, I feel that as early as possible, we will get the alternative solution for all these things and that will resolve the problem," Gadkari said.
Meanwhile, multiple government agencies are planning measures against China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post had reported on April 30, citing officials.
According to data from US-based John Hopkin University, the global number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has neared 43 lakh, with the death toll exceeding 2.92 lakh.