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Kisan Andolan: Former Indian Foreign Service Officers Support India’s Provision of MSP

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Farmer Protect
Farmer Protect

An open letter was issued by a group of retired Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers saying that developing countries 'not to be on the wrong side of history' in the context of increasing international statements in support of farmers protest in India. 

Sustainable agriculture requires farmers to implement the new technologies to diversify their production, and the government's agricultural laws are a step in this direction,' said the former IFS officers, while supporting India's Minimum Support Price (MSP) provision, something that developed countries condemn as an unfair practice. 

The 20 signatories in the declaration condemned efforts to undermine the sovereign prerogatives of India. 'You can't, necessarily, get your cake and eat it too. The balance between market forces and the wellbeing of food security/famers is a fragile one and it is governments' sovereign prerogative to strike the balance,' they added. 

Ajay Swarup, Mohan Kumar, Veena Sikri, Vishnu Prakash and J S Sapra were among the signatories

They claimed that there was an incentive for the U.S., the European Union and the U.K., along with 19 members of the Cairns Group, to end the double standards that had distorted global development and markets in the post-COVID-19 future of sustainable agriculture and food security. 

The Cairns Group is an alliance of nations that sell agricultural products. 

Different elements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) deal on agriculture were also attacked by former IFS officers, claiming it were born out of a bilateral agreement in 1992 between the two major agricultural subsidy suppliers, the U.S. and the E.U. 

The WTO Agreement on Agriculture, they noted, was marked by a lack of democracy and was based on commercial realpolitik. 

'India will encourage the market to determine the prices of agricultural products steadily and incrementally, not because of the WTO or because developed countries say so, but because it is in the fundamental interest of Indian farmers and will make it possible for them to double their income,' the statement said. 

The WTO, under the leadership of developed countries, would fail to perform its duty if it did not amend the Agreement on Agriculture, which enabled the achievement of the Sustainable Development Aim of ending hunger and ensuring food security for developing and least developed members, it said. 

Developed countries headed by the United States, the European Union and the Cairns Community have the potential to be on the right side of history here. Although promising to update the WTO Agreement on Agriculture in order to satisfy the valid demands of emerging and least developed countries, they must support the actions of developing and least developed countries, he added. 

The statement came in the background of many foreign figures, including actors, activists and politicians, endorsing the protest of farmers' unions near Delhi against the three farm laws and condemning the decision of the government to suspend the Internet in the affected regions. 

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