At UN, India's Covid Vaccine Swipe At West As It Defends Wheat Export Ban

New Delhi: India on Wednesday expressed concern over the hoarding of food grains and discrimination amid an "unjustified increase" in food prices and cautioned the West that the issue should not go the way of Covid-19 vaccines, for which poor countries struggled even for initial doses, while rich nations had an excess of what they needed.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that India's decision to restrict wheat exports will ensure it can "truly" respond to those most in need. "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, which have adequate stocks, have seen an unjustified increase in food prices. It is clear that hoarding and speculation are at work. We cannot allow this to pass unchallenged," Mr Muraleedharan said.

"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, 2022," he said.

The Minister of State for External Affairs was speaking at the ministerial meeting on the 'Global Food Security Call to Action', which was chaired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken under the US Presidency of the UN Security Council for May.

The minister emphasised that India will play its due role in advancing global food security and it will do so in a manner in which it upholds equity, displays compassion, and promotes social justice.

"We have already seen to our great cost how these principles were disregarded in the case of Covid-19 vaccines. Open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination," Mr Muraleedharan said, adding that it is necessary for all countries to adequately appreciate the importance of "equity, affordability and accessibility" when it comes to food grains.