Trade talks with UK underway, Piyush Goyal reiterates India’s position

Paris [France], April 12 (ANI): Clearing the air regarding the ongoing trade talks between India and the UK, Union minister Piyush Goyal stressed that negotiations are “underway but some credible action should be taken against the incidents that happened in Britain,” referring to the recent pro-Khalistan activities by some elements outside Indian High Commission in London.

On March 19 this year, protesters holding Khalistan banners staged a demonstration outside the High Commission in London. One of the protestors climbed up its balcony and pulled down the national flag of India. The protest was being held to denounce the recent police action in Punjab.

“Trade talks are underway but some credible action should be taken against the incidents that happened in Britain,” Minister Goyal told ANI.

The India-UK Free Trade Agreement talks were initiated on June 17, 2022.

London-based newspaper The Times in its April 10 edition citing senior British government sources reported that the Indian government has “disengaged” from trade talks and made it clear that there would be no progress “without a public condemnation of the Khalistan movement.”

India earlier “denied” the UK publication’s report and termed it as “baseless”.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi recently said that India expected to see more action, than just assurance and hoped that foreign governments will act against and prosecute those involved in the incident.

Further, regarding the matter of reviewing wheat export policy, Minister Goyal said that there are no such plans to review the wheat export ban decision at the moment.

As the tensions between Russia and Ukraine turned into a full-blown war in 2022, export demand for wheat got a boost, resulting in lifetime high prices of the staple food grain in the local mandis, pushing India put a restriction on exports. Ukraine and Russia are two major suppliers of wheat.

To manage the overall food security of the country as well as meet the needs of the neighbouring and other vulnerable countries, India then amended the export policy of wheat by putting its export under the “prohibited” category.

Also, multiple rounds of heat waves in several wheat-growing regions in India before the rabi harvest last year affected crops. Wheat pods in the mature stage typically shrink if overexposed to heat.

This year too, there are reports of crop loss due to unseasonal rains. There were reports from various wheat-growing states that unseasonal rains have flattened standing crops in some regions. Wheat, a rabi crop was in an advanced maturing stage, and was expected to hit mandis in a fortnight or so.

Minister Goyal said that they would send teams out across most of the states on wheat as there has been minor lustre loss or some amount of moisture. However, he said it will impact the government’s procurement drive.

“I have been receiving reports that in the next few weeks, we’ll be seeing a significant amount of stocks coming in there. There is absolutely no concern about the procurement in the current year, particularly since the export of wheat continues to be restricted and will not be allowed except for the G2G relationships,” Goyal said. (ANI)


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