India will play its due role in advancing global food security: MoS Muraleedharan at UN

India will play its due role in advancing global food security: MoS Muraleedharan at UN

United Nations/New Delhi: India has said that it will play its due role in advancing global food security, and that the restrictions announced on the export of wheat made allowance for exports to countries that had food security needs.
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, in his address at the Ministerial Meeting on “Global Food Security Call to Action” at the UN General Assembly, said the food security challenges emanating from the Ukraine conflict require the international community to respond creatively.
He reiterated India’s stand, for an early diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine through constructive dialogue between Russia and Ukraine.
He said that a number of low income societies are today confronted with the twin challenges of rising costs and difficulty in access to food grains. “Even those like India, who have adequate stocks, have seen an unjustified increase in food prices. It is clear that hoarding and speculation is at work. We cannot allow this to pass unchallenged,” he stressed.
Muraleedharan said India “has recognized the sudden spike in global prices of wheat which put our food security and those of our neighbours and other vulnerable countries at risk”.
We are committed to ensuring that such adverse impact on food security is effectively mitigated and the vulnerable cushioned against sudden changes in the global market. In order to manage our own overall food security and support the needs of neighbouring and other vulnerable developing countries, we have announced some measures regarding wheat exports on May 13.”
He said the measures announced “allow for export on the basis of approvals to those countries who are required to meet their food security demands. This will be done on the request from the concerned governments. Such a policy will ensure that we will truly respond to those who are most in need.”
“It is necessary for all of us to adequately appreciate the importance of equity, affordability and accessibility when it comes to food grains,” he said, adding that the world has already seen “to our great cost” how these principles were disregarded in the case of Covid-19 vaccines – referring to the hoarding of vaccines by the West and ignoring the needy countries.
Open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination,” he added.
On India’s outreach to countries, he said: “As for our own track record of helping our partners in distress, even in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts, India has never been found wanting. We have provided food aid in the form of thousands of metric tonnes of wheat, rice, pulses, and lentils to several countries, including our neighborhood and Africa, to strengthen their food security.”
He said India is donating 50,000 Metric tonnes of wheat to the people of Afghanistan. India has continued its humanitarian support for Myanmar, including a grant of 10,000 tons of rice and wheat. India is also assisting Sri Lanka including with food assistance, during these difficult times. “In keeping with our ethos of VasudhaivaKutumbakam, (the world is one family) and our Neighbourhood First Policy, we will continue to assist our neighhbours, in their hour of need, and stand by them, always,” the MoS said.
All humanitarian aid and assistance must be guided by the universal principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence. “These measures must not be politicized”, he said.
“There is an urgent need for the donor community, to scale up assistance to conflict affected countries and to ensure that humanitarian agencies receive the necessary funding to fully execute their plans without politicization of basic needs of the people.”
“India will play its due role in advancing global food security. And it will do so in a manner in which it will uphold equity, display compassion and promotes social justice,” he added.
Earlier in his address, the MoS said the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts, including in Ukraine, has impacted the lives of ordinary people adversely, particularly in the developing countries, with spiralling energy and commodity prices and disruptions in global logistical supply chains.
“The 2022 Global Report on Food Crises has reported that 139 million people across the world suffered from conflict-induced acute food insecurity, up by around 30% reported previously. The situation is therefore severe and cannot be neglected. We all need to work collectively together to alleviate the sufferings of the most affected,” he added.
UNI

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