“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,” Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday, previewing the US initiatives on food security in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Answering a reporter’s question on India restricting wheat exports, she said: “We’re encouraging countries not to restrict exports because we think any restrictions on exports will exacerbate the food shortages.”
Meanwhile, China has come to India’s defence after G7’s criticism over the decision to regulate the export of wheat, saying that blaming India would not solve the global food crisis.
An editorial published in China’s state-run Global Times said: “Now, the agriculture ministers from G7 urge India not to ban wheat exports, then why won’t G7 nations themselves move to stabilise food market supply by hiking their exports?”
It added: “Although India is the second largest wheat producer in the world, it accounts for only a small part of global wheat exports. By contrast, some developed economies, including the US, Canada, the EU and Australia, are among major exporters of wheat.”
Russia and Ukraine accounted for nearly 30% of the global wheat exports and the war has disrupted the supplies.
India on its part issued a statement last weekend where it said the decision to restrict wheat exports would help control food prices and strengthen the food security of India and countries facing a deficit, and that India remained a reliable supplier as it was honouring all contracts.
Speaking at a press conference along with food and consumer affairs secretary Sudhanshu Pandey and agriculture secretary Manoj Ahuja, commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said all export orders where the letter of credit had been issued would be fulfilled.
He said directing wheat exports through government channels would not only ensure fulfilling the genuine needs of our neighbours and food-deficit countries, but also help control inflationary expectations.
The US, which is the Security Council’s president for May, has urged for ‘Days of Action for Food Security’. During those programmes, the US will be “identifying those countries who are willing and able to open up their own silos to fill that gap”, Thomas-Greenfield said.
On Wednesday, US secretary of state Antony Blinken is convening a global ministerial meeting of foreign ministers to address food security, nutrition and resilience, she added. Blinken will also preside over an open debate in the council on Conflict and Food Security on Thursday.