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Wheat Export Ban: G-7 Likely To Put More Pressure On India To Lift Restriction On Wheat Exports

During the upcoming G-7 summit in Germany (June 26-28), members of the G-7 countries are expected to urge India to lift its restriction on wheat exports.

Chintu Das
Wheat Production
Wheat Production

During the upcoming G-7 summit in Germany (June 26-28), which is scheduled to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, members of the G-7 countries are expected to urge India to lift the restriction on wheat exports.

The information of the G-7's position on the wheat export ban came as India's Minister of State for External Affairs V Muralidharan travelled to New York for a high-level ministerial conference on "Global Food Security - Call to Action." Sources have told The Hindu, India's obligations as the prospective G20 chair include ensuring food security, particularly in light of the Ukraine crisis, which has affected the global agriculture supply chain.

The subject of India's wheat export prohibition is set to take center stage at the global food security summit, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will convene on Wednesday at the United Nations.

The mood at the United Nations Security Council was conveyed by US envoy to the UN, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who stated that the US is requesting that other countries refrain from stopping wheat exports and added, "India will be one of the countries participating in our meeting at the Security Council, and we hope that they can, as they hear the concerns being raised by other countries, that they would reconsider that position."

In the run-up to the G7 summit in Germany, India and the G7 nations will continue to consult. The Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, Dammu Ravi, will attend the G-7 development ministers meeting in Berlin on Wednesday, when the topic of food security is set to take center stage. The summit is expected to yield a proposal, but India may reject it.

On May 13, the government banned wheat exports due to a sharp increase in wheat prices in the domestic market. The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), a major farmers' group, has claimed that traders began stockpiling wheat after the Russian invasion on Ukraine on February 24 devastated the latter's agriculture industry, citing an export opportunity in the worldwide market. The hoarders sought to replace the void produced by the absence of Ukrainian wheat with Indian wheat. "The government did not move to prohibit private traders from stockpiling," Yudhvir Singh of BKU explained, "but woke up when prices went up because of concerns of shortage in the domestic market more than two months later."

The global agriculture market has been stunned by India's wheat export ban, but G-7 nations expect that it will be lifted eventually since Delhi must play a bigger role in maintaining global food security.

India barred the export of medicines like paracetamol during the pandemic but later restored the prohibition, and it is expected that the Government would do the same with the wheat export ban once domestic prices stabilise.

The Indian side sensed the impending G-7 pressure during the recently finished Prime Ministerial visit to Germany, Denmark, and France, when the Ukraine situation "dominated" discussions with counterparts. According to sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was interested in learning how long the conflict would last. Agriculture cooperation was also addressed between India and Germany, particularly in third countries like Malawi and Cameroon in Africa. In Peru, the two parties considered a universal employment guarantee scheme.

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