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Chinese media defends India over wheat exports

But what came as surprise amid this report was the Chinese state media's defence of India after criticism from Group of Seven (G7) nations, ANI news agency said. Global Times, a Chinese government outlet said, "Blaming India won't solve the food problem."

May 16, 2022
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China curiously has come to India's defence after G7's criticism over the decision to restrict the export of wheat, saying that blaming developing countries like India won't solve the global food crisis. Last week the Indian government amended the export policy of wheat by putting exports through commercial channels under the "prohibited" category, saying it will now only be done through "government channels".

The order by Indina's Ministry of Commerce said the government has banned the wheat exports with "immediate effect".  India's Commerce secretary Subrahmanyam said, "Apart from the food security of India, the government is committed to ensuring food security of neighbours and vulnerable countries."

But what came as surprise amid this report was the Chinese state media's defence of India after criticism from Group of Seven (G7) nations, ANI news agency said. Global Times, a Chinese government outlet said, "Blaming India won't solve the food problem."

"Now, the agriculture ministers from G7 urge India not to ban wheat exports, then why won't G7 nations themselves move to stabilise food market supply by hiking their exports?" asked an editorial published in the paper.

"Although India is the second-largest wheat producer in the world, it accounts for only a small part of global wheat exports. By contrast, some developed economies, including the US, Canada, the EU and Australia, are among major exporters of wheat," it added.

According to Global Times, if some western countries decide to reduce wheat exports in the wake of a potential global food crisis, they will be in no position to criticise India, a country that faces pressure to secure its own food supply. The article argued that G7 countries were welcome to join the efforts in tackling the global food crisis and advised against criticising India and other developing countries.

India on its part issued a press statement on Saturday where it said the decision to restrict wheat exports will control food prices and strengthen the food security of India and countries facing a deficit, and that India remains a reliable supplier as it is honouring all contracts.

Speaking at a press conference with Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary Department of Food and Consumer Affairs, and Manoj Ahuja, Secretary Agriculture, the Commerce Secretary said that all exports orders where the letter of credit has been issued would be fulfilled. He added that directing the wheat exports through government channels would not only ensure fulfilling the genuine needs of our neighbours and food-deficit countries but also control inflationary expectations.

He said that the control order serves three main purposes -- It maintains the food security for the country, it helps others who are in distress and maintains India's reliability as a supplier.

(SAM)

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