Last week, the Indian government revised its wheat export policy and placed its exports in the “prohibited” category. The Commerce Ministry’s order states that the government has banned the export of wheat “with immediate effect”.
But what was surprising in this report was the Chinese state media defending India after criticism from the Group of Seven (G7) countries. “Blaming India will not solve the food problem,” said Global Times (GT), a Chinese government outlet.
“Now that the G7 agriculture ministers are urging India not to ban wheat exports, why don’t the G7 countries step up their efforts to stabilize the food market by increasing their exports?” Asked an editorial published in GT.
“Although India is the second largest producer of wheat in the world, it accounts for a small portion of global wheat exports. In contrast, the United States, Canada, the EU and Australia are some of the leading wheat exporters,” he added.
According to the GT, if some Western countries decide to reduce wheat exports in the face of a potential global food crisis, they will not be in a position to criticize India, a country that is under pressure to secure its own food supply.
The article argues that the G7 welcomes countries to join efforts in tackling the global food crisis and advises against criticizing India and other developing countries.
India on Saturday issued a press statement on its behalf stating that the decision to restrict wheat exports would control food prices and strengthen food security in India and deficit countries and India remained a reliable supplier as it respected all agreements.
Speaking at a press conference with Food and Consumer Affairs Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey and Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja, the Commerce Secretary said that all export orders where credit has been issued would be met.
He added that the directive to export wheat through government channels would not only ensure that the real needs of our neighboring and food-deficient countries are met but also control inflation expectations.
Talking about the availability of wheat, Commerce Secretary Subramaniam said, “Apart from food security in India, the government is committed to ensuring food security in neighboring and vulnerable countries.”
He said the control order serves three main purposes: “It maintains food security for the country, it helps others in distress and maintains India’s credibility as a supplier,” he said.